will it be obvious to my mom what rxs i buy on her health insurance plan
January 24, 2013 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I have recently switched from my own health insurance to going back on my mom's plan. I feel silly asking this question, because it shouldn't feel like a big deal, but when I get my birth control rx filled through her insurance, how obvious will it be to her?

When carrying my own insurance, I've never received a statement or anything in the mail detailing what prescriptions I'd had filled, is this a common practice with any companies? (specific company is anthem blue cross blue shield.)

I'm not particularly concerned about whether that information would be there if she went looking for it, more curious as to whether she'll see it on any routine mailing the company will send her.

This isn't a super huge deal, she won't disown me for taking birth control our even disapprove, but sex is not something we really talk about and I just feel weird about the possibility of it somehow.
posted by sockypuppeteer to Health & Fitness (19 answers total)
I've been through about three different insurance plans in the past 10 years, and I can't recall a single one of them ever sending me a random "here's a list of the prescriptions you're taking" letter. I've gotten statements about doctors' visits (which were so full of medical-ese that I had to call my doctor and ask "what the hell is this....oh, right, the blood test, gotcha"), but nothing for prescriptions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on January 24, 2013

Well, she'll be notified that you had an Rx filled and she'll get an EOB.

If she's like me, she'll trash it without looking at it. FWIW mine don't list the actual meds.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:19 AM on January 24, 2013

I actually just filled my very first prescription as an Anthem BC/BS customer, and I have to say, I strongly doubt it? I've been with Cigna and Aetna in the last 5 years or so and their prescription filling arms seemed to be almost entirely decoupled from the rest of their tracking systems.

I could still be proven wrong :) in which case I guess I'll be back to update this thread, but in general, pharmacies seem only loosely tied to the rest of the healthcare system except at weird places like Kaiser. I mean, I have a FSA debit card and they tell me to save my receipts, that's how little info they get from most pharmacies.
posted by town of cats at 9:20 AM on January 24, 2013

I have BC/BS, and I *can* go in and see what prescriptions I've got covered, but I have to be really motivated. I don't get any paper statements, but I have access to all my info online--it took me a good four clicks to get down to the name of the drug. And even then it's listed by the brand name and dosage, and not, for instance, BIRTH CONTROL or ALLERGY PILL. So if you're not familiar with the brand names (and the generics tend to have pretty benign/weird ones), you'd have to go google it. Basically, it's a lot of work to find out. (Is your mom the nosy type? If not, I can't imagine she'll ever see anything other than "paid to walgreens $xx.xx.")

THAT SAID, if she does ever see it, and it does ever come up, there are plenty of really really nonsexy reasons to go on the pill. Heavy periods. Irregular periods. Bad cramps. Acne. Endometriosis. Pick one (bad cramps is an easy one) and explain to her how much better everything is now, and continue not having to acknowledge sex at all. :)
posted by phunniemee at 9:21 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

We do not get EOBs for prescriptions on BCBS. It's a bit of a weird plan, so your specific plan may vary. Call them and find out.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:22 AM on January 24, 2013

I've never gotten an EOB for a prescription. But when we get EOBs in the mail for doctor visits, they've always been addressed to the patient, not the main insured person (in our case, my husband, insurance through his work). So unless you live with her and she opens your mail... I also don't think my husband and I can see each other's medical information on the web site, we have individual logins. The main login (his) does have a breakdown of what we've spent, but not a detailed medical explanation.
posted by upatree at 9:31 AM on January 24, 2013

Agreed with phunniemee that if it were to come up, you could easily and reasonably say that you had irregular periods or cramps, your doctor recommended birth control, and it fixed the problem.

I think that more than half of the gay women who I have discussed this with have used birth control at some point to regulate periods, for skin, or for some other non-having-sex related reason. (I'm a gay woman, so that's just the group I happen to be most familiar with that doesn't need birth control for preventing babies, but still is likely to need it for other reasons).
posted by insectosaurus at 9:39 AM on January 24, 2013

I'm with BCBS of Fl and I receive quarterly paper statements that detail the services that every member of the family uses - including RXs. As the responses to your question show that this is not always the case, I strongly suggest you call Anthem and ask them this question. They are the only ones who can answer your question with certainty.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:51 AM on January 24, 2013

By family I mean my husband and our minor children.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:53 AM on January 24, 2013

BCBS of ND sends out EOBs which do list the spefic medication that's prescribed. They're addressed to the person the prescription was made out for, and like others have mentioned I generally toss them out right away unless I'm feeling particularly curious or think it's something else.
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:59 AM on January 24, 2013

If you really want to keep this from your mom, and the birth control that you take is available generic, talk to your local big chain pharmacy about their "prescription savings plan" or whatever they call it. Usually for a small annual fee you have access to a bunch of generic drugs at cheap prices. For instance here is Walgreens version (you will have to look up online or just ask the pharmacist what the brand-name equivalent of their generics are, for some reason BC is really weird and has "branded" generics, which is just confusing).
posted by radioamy at 10:07 AM on January 24, 2013

I'm on UHC; I get an email that says a new claim has been entered (even for medications I paid for at the pharmacy). The email itself doesn't say what it is for, but if I click the link and log into my account, I can easily tell what the prescription is for (although it does say the generic name, not "Birth Control pills" or even "Yasmin" or whatever).
posted by good day merlock at 10:08 AM on January 24, 2013

When I was under my mother's Aetna plan, prescriptions were through ExpressScripts. I don't know about paper mail, but she regularly went online, where they showed all prescriptions purchased for each plan member.
posted by WasabiFlux at 10:10 AM on January 24, 2013

This really, really depends on your insurance.

Are you a student? If you make less than a very small amount of money, you can get free birth control from planned parenthood.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:16 AM on January 24, 2013

I just logged into my health plan. I can't see the prescription information for my wife or kids. There is a message that state various privacy laws prohibit me from reviewing prescription records for anybody in my family over the age of 12.

I don't know if that is a State level privacy law or Federal. I would guess it is HIPPA, which is Federal.
posted by COD at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2013

"We do not get EOBs for prescriptions on BCBS"
Without hairsplitting, I think that is false. ("what is the meaning of EOB")

You may not get a specific EOB for a filled prescription. I get quarterly BCBS roll up statements that clearly state all drugs (mail order and local pharmacy filled) for all members under my plan (and all the medical stuff you get a specific EOB for, etc - a total "health plan spending" report)

Additionally, yearly statements, "how much of deductible" type statements, "review last year's health spending" reports from your provider web page may/can/will all provide that information as well. There are all sorts of ways for the planholder to see where their money is going (what plan paid, what they paid, how much towards which deductibles etc etc).

Note my house is all minors.

So does your mom look at that stuff and track her spending ?
posted by k5.user at 11:50 AM on January 24, 2013

You may not get a specific EOB for a filled prescription. I get quarterly BCBS roll up statements that clearly state all drugs (mail order and local pharmacy filled) for all members under my plan (and all the medical stuff you get a specific EOB for, etc - a total "health plan spending" report)

We do not get a EOB for scripts, either, and we're with BCBS. We can if we request it, but it really does depend on your particular plan.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2013

"We do not get EOBs for prescriptions on BCBS"
Without hairsplitting, I think that is false. ("what is the meaning of EOB")

Sorry. I maybe was not perfectly clear. On my family's version of BCBS (which I mentioned is a rather unique plan within the BCBS umbrella) we do not get Explanation of Benefits mailings for picking up prescriptions. If there is any sort of online listing or accounting of prescriptions filled, I have never seen one, though I don't delve too deeply into just what is available online. My point was just that plans, even within insurers, vary dramatically.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:11 PM on January 24, 2013

When I was on my mom's insurance and using the insurance company's mail in pharmacy, something in their computer system confused me and my mother and made it so that I could see all of her prescriptions and she could see all of mine. Neither of us could see my dad's prescriptions, even though he is on the same plan. This was for prescriptions mailed in only though and was with Cigna. So weird stuff can happen even when it's not supposed to.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 3:50 PM on January 24, 2013

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