Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Learning the Ropes

There are some things about the way things work (or don't work) in Indonesia that can be pretty darn frustrating and/or irritating.The red tape of immigration, for instance, the yearly hassle, the renewal of one's driver's license (which, in America, could be done by mail. On the other hand, there are some things that work a hell of a lot better than in our developed nations - certain matters of common sense, combined with, I suppose, financial benefits.
For example, I was aware that for my neurologic disorder, I could benefit from certain types of medication. As long as one has health insurance, this is not a big problem. You go to the doctor, you get your prescription, and it's all pretty much paid for (within limits, of course). The only hassle involved in this case is that the insurance providers allow physicians to prescribe for only a one month supply of any given medication. This means that if you take said medications chronically, you must revisit the doctor every month in order to procure the same prescriptions that you received the month before.
However, if you are without insurance, this becomes a very big problem indeed. Not only will you need to pay full price for the medications, but you will have to pay to see your doctor every month and pay full price for that visit to get the required prescriptions. If we're talking about a neurologist, we're talking about a hefty fee. I will say, in my old neurologist's favor, that he did everything he could to "trick" the insurance company into giving more liberally (prescribing, for instance, a double dose and then having me simply cut the tablets in half, which itself would allow me to pay his fee only every two months rather than every month). Still, without insurance, it's expensive, no matter how you cut it.
Enter the common sense Indonesian way.
Upon mentioning this coincidentally in a general sort of conversation with my dentist, she immediately exclaimed, "Wah! You should have just asked me. I'll write the prescription - no problem, no charge. And by the way, don't go to xxxxxxx (a certain phamacy that shall remain unnamed). Go to this other one. You'll get a cheaper price.
But there's more.
Having once visited the pharmacy recommended some weeks ago, prescription in hand, I visited again just today, having nearly reached the end of my supply. I felt pretty sure that the woman there was going to tell me that I need another written prescription, but heck, it's worth a try.
"Can I buy this again, or ..."
"Of course. How many would you like to buy?"
So I get those. And I also ask about several others. Yes, I can buy these too, and yes, they are significantly cheaper than xxxx. Moreover, she will search for the best price when she orders.
So yeah, I have to pay out of pocket, and yeah I have to do my own research and make my own recommendations - but you know what? In America, apparently, my condition may not even be covered any longer; and I can guarantee that the same prescriptions in America would cost more than just money. They'd cost an arm and a leg.

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