By Dr. Jennifer VanDeWater, PharmD
Integrative Therapeutics Board of the The Wellness Company
If you are here, reading this article, then you are likely already aware of the stranglehold that insurance companies have over the care that healthcare providers are able to offer. Breaking free from their grip is essential for taking back control. Let’s take a look at four ways we can do this.
Support Local Independent Pharmacies
I spent much of my career working in chain pharmacies, or in supermarket pharmacies. The goal for these pharmacies is clear—fill as many scripts as possible, for as many people as possible. This is how the pharmacy chains and insurance companies receive payment. As a result, to them you are not a patient, you are a number. Therefore, the first step to taking back control is to support your local independent pharmacy and pay cash where you can, attacking the bottom line of the big pharma chains and insurance companies.
Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is the process where insurance companies peer through your medical record and, in most instances, recommend prescriptions without you consulting with your physician first. I go into this in detail in our book, The Next Wave is Brave. The doctor and pharmacist are, in most instances, unaware that this was initiated by the insurance company with a for-profit motive. If you are prescribed or swapped a medication that you do not recall being discussed with your provider or pharmacist, challenge this with your pharmacist, and then your doctor. Chances are if it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.
Become More Health Self-Reliant
You will hear us, and in particular, my colleague Dr. Peter McCullough, talk at length about becoming more health self-reliant and taking control of your health. What does this mean? It means taking accountability for your health, understanding the impact that prescribed medications may have on your health, and engaging in positive dialogue with your doctors. The vast majority of doctors, by nature of their Hippocratic Oath, are duty-bound to act in your best interest. More often than not, the issues occur in the space between the pharmacist and physician, so by engaging in proper dialogue with your healthcare professionals and understanding your illness, you can develop the self-reliance needed to take control of your health, taking it away from the insurance company.
Build a Strong Support Network
We often speak about the importance of building your tribe. This support network, comprised of trusted individuals from friends and family to doctors, naturopaths, and pharmacists, will provide the perfect sounding board to give you sound advice provided with you and your health in mind. This network, if properly constructed and well-balanced, will allow you to see the forest from the trees and deconstruct the lies that your insurance provider is telling you.
Finally, if possible, you should look to leave the constraints of insurance. I know that given the way our healthcare system is constructed, this may not seem feasible. But over time, our goal is to return the power to you. If you follow the steps outlined above, and take ownership of your health, you’re joining a community of brave individuals who are challenging the bottom line of insurance companies and returning power to the people.
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About the Author:
Dr. Jennifer VanDeWater, PMD, is a registered pharmacist licensed in Maine, New York, and Vermont. Dr. Jen is The People’s Pharmacist. She is one of the founders of the Integrative Therapeutics Board of The Wellness Company, and a global leader in reinitializing continuum of care processes between pharmacists, patients, and their doctors.