Frustrated patients in Michigan and around the country have had to pay out of pocket for medicine for chronic diseases and other illnesses or go without in the fallout from a cyberattack of a major health care company.

The tech company, Change Healthcare, has restored access to many of its systems in the weeks since the Feb. 21 attack announcement. However, some services remained down as of Thursday, March 21, including the system that processes discount/savings cards to bring down drug prices for patients.

Local pharmacists said for a while they couldn’t verify what a customer’s insurance would cover for their medication, or how much of a copay was necessary at the transaction point. Patients had the option of paying out of pocket and pursuing reimbursement later, if they could afford the up-front cost.

“Michigan Pharmacists Association is aware of reports that the Change Healthcare outage continues to present a challenge to Michigan pharmacies and their patients,” said Mark Glasper, the association’s CEO.
“Systems used to identify patient insurance and coordinate coverage of prescriptions are, in some locations, still non-operational or inconsistently usable. It’s also important to understand these issues are not pharmacy driven, rather originating from a third-party institution. Michigan pharmacy personnel continue to work within their power to provide medications at affordable costs through all methods still at their disposal.”