I needed to go to the doctor to refill a prescription and thought I would start with our insurance company’s website, to see who is in network. Searching for Pretoria and noting that I preferred a clinic (vs. a hospital), one clinic came up. So, I called to make an appointment. All she asked for was my name, phone number and date of birth. I took an Uber there and checked in on the ‘Medical’ side, as there’s also a ‘Dental’ side. (Good to know.) I filled out a page that had my contact information and my emergency contact. I was checked in.
The MD came out and called me into her office, herself. I told her I was just wanting to establish care and get a refill on an Rx. They don’t have my medication here and she looked through a book to see what was the closest. She asked what I’m doing in South Africa and we talked some about how my experience has been so far. Like talking to a friend! I paid 400 Rand (= $29.50) and they gave me a sheet to submit to insurance for reimbursement.
And that was it! No vitals were taken, no nurse check-in, nothing. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t have something wrong or what, but it was very different. Then, I went to the pharmacy. I got in line and the pharmacy tech asked me if I wanted the Rx right then. I told him that if I could, sure! “Why not?!” as my mom would say… Then, he took my medication, put it in a box and closed it with a cable tie. Umm…. I went to the front after a very confusing discussion regarding Advil and checked out, paying 86 Rand (=$6). When I told my Uber driver about how cheap it was, he seemed very confused. He said, “That is actually a lot! Health care is very expensive here.” I said it was less than what I pay in the U.S., and that’s with my insurance. Crazy…
It was a very interesting experience. For how inefficient other things can be here, this was fast, easy and straight-forward. Good to know, in case I get sick! (Hopefully I never have to try out the hospitals here, though… That could be a whole new ball of wax.)
Cheers to good health in 2017*, friends!!
*Seemed appropriate, given the shenanigans that started with the ACA today… 😦