This is one column (blog), which I regret having to write. I do so, however, because I believe that our recent experience with BOMAID may well be replicated by others and that BOMAID, in so many ways, has our lives in its hands.
Today, we are all so very vulnerable and dependent on the goodwill and capabilities of others in respect of health, water, electricity supply and justice. But a preamble.
I believe that I must have been one of BOMAID’ s earliest members but when I recently asked them to check, I was told that my wife became the family member in 1990 and that they had no record that I had ever been one!
It just happened that we agreed in 1990 to substitute her name for mine because at that time she was receiving a salary but not myself.
This was a catastrophic mistake on our part because by making the change, we ensured that I could not benefit from the reduction for aged members and were therefore, arguably, over-paying.
For the last 27 years – or considerably longer if my earlier membership is taken into account – we had no complaints about BOMAID, possibly because acute/chronic medication apart, for which we were grateful, we had so little need to call on its services. This year however – and for the first time – the two of us had significant health problems so that by September/October we had both reached our benefit levels and somehow had to get through to the new calendar year without further problems.
On the 21st of last month we discovered when collecting my medication at Prime Health Pharmacy in Block 7 that one item had been rejected. We asked BOMAID what had happened and were told that their system was down.
On the 22nd BOMAID explained that their system was rejecting a number of customers pills and suggested that we should buy the rejected pill and then submit a claim. We tried to get the pill from several pharmacies including BOMAID’s pharmacy at Fairgrounds to no avail. The Private Hospital did have the pill in stock but not of the strength required. We returned to Prime Health yet again. There, they phoned BOMAID to find out what was happening but were unable to reach anyone who was able to clarify the situation.
They needed authorisation from BOMAID so that could give us the pill. Without this, Block 7 kindly gave us one free pill while the issue was being sorted out. In the meanwhile, on the 23rd – we again rang BOMAID.
This time, the story had changed. The relevant doctor had, it seemed, reduced the strength of the pill from 110mg to 75
We argued that BOMAID had been authorising the slightly altered prescription for the previous five months. Now, without warning, it was suddenly rejecting it although it seemed to us that the reduced medication was likely to cost either the same amount as the earlier version or less. So why the fuss? BOMAID, however, told us that we should go back to the doctor at Bokamoso, get him to write a new prescription and to reapply.
Self-evidently, it was impossible to carry out this request. Writing a new prescription could only be achieved by making an appointment.
Despite the fact that BOMAID was not going to cover the costs incurred by this appointment and of travel there and back, we enquired and were told that the earliest possibility would be sometime in mid-January. Contacted about this stale mate, BOMAID told us to bring in the old prescription.
On the 24th it told us that, after all, they could deal with the problem by re-submitting it themselves. And that we would be told the outcome before the day’s end but in the meanwhile it would inform Block 7 that they could give us four day’s supply.
For safety’s sake, it being a Friday, we bought a week’s supply at P122, which proved to be just as well because there was no promised phone call that Friday afternoon, no call on the 27th, the 28th, or the 29th.
On the Thursday, the 30th we yet again rang BOMAID which expressed surprise that we had heard nothing because a staff member was supposed to have phoned us.
Notwithstanding that omission, it was confirmed that finally everything had been sorted out and that we should go back to Prime Health at Block 7 yet again and collect the pills.
When we got there, we were told that the system was still rejecting the much-debated medication, but please wait whilst they sorted out the problem.
Because we had been waiting for the last ten days and had other needs, which required our attention, we left having purchased another P122 week’s supply.
Later that day, we again rang BOMAID and were told that we should have waited because everything had been sorted out!
We still have to go back there to discover if this time around, this wretched wholly unnecessary saga really has been brought to a conclusion. Or a new one is waiting around the corner?