This is sort of an extension of a topic I've written about before, but it continues to be an issue in my workplace (which is a string of clinic/medical office building pharmacies, not a big corporate chain.) The organization is feeling the economic pinch and loss of revenues, just like many others. Our business is still quite steady, but cost-saving measures and ways to maintain our business are always at the forefront.
Some of the staff don't give a rat's ass and continue to do their job as they always have. But some of the 'good' technicians are conflicted as to how far they have to go to cater to people who don't present adequate insurance information, and they get varying directions from the pharmacist managers they work for. Some technicians feel they are now expected to get on the phone and track down insurance information for everyone who claims to have it --- they just don't have a card or don't know why our information is rejecting. Otherwise, the customer is either expected to pay cash price or (more often) walks out the door. It's slowly creeping into the realm of "customer service."
I'm conflicted about this. Don't get me wrong, I know that pharmacies are not obligated to verify insurance, period. That information has to be supplied by the customer. We don't expect the Target cashier to call our bank to get our credit card number. And the big chain pharmacies doing 800+ scripts a day have absolutely no capacity to do this -- the wait time on a prescription would be about a week! I get really annoyed when someone expects me to bill an insurance they can't produce. Being in a clinic environment, we do sometimes have access to more information than an outside pharmacy would, but I have actually told technicians on the phone with insurance, "look, we're just getting too bogged down here -- just give the customer their options. We can't solve this for them." But the technicians will tell me some pharmacists expect it of them, especially the managers in some of the smaller stores who are worried about their prescription volumes.
So I guess I'm not sure where to draw the line between being helpful and facing reality. I'll call an insurance provider if I believe it's something I can solve relatively quickly. Some of the insurance companies have websites, but the first thing they want is the patient's ID number and that's usually what you don't have. If it's a regular customer who's well known to me, and all of a sudden their insurance doesn't work, I'll try to help them. But I do NOT want people to expect this, and many of them now seem to.
Oh yeah, and if that prescription is $4 you can be darn sure the Insurance Detective Service will NOT be offered....