1. Decide you'd like a refill on your prescription for Allegra.
2. Go to http://www.microsofthealth.com and sign in.
3. Have a look at the list of your prescriptions with available refills.
4. Notice a strangely familiar icon:
[Yes, that's the Netscape N. Long story short, any Web site running on the Sun ONE Web Server (formerly Netscape Enterprise Server / iPlanet Enterprise Server) has by default the Netscape N as its favicon.ico; you normally don't see it in IE, but both Firefox and the MSN Toolbar make it easy to see. This is obviously not a Microsoft internal web site, but I did find it amusing regardless.]
5. Anyhow, try to refill your script. You can't: it now costs $80 as Allegra is now available in a generic equivalent.
6. Try to order the generic equivalent. You can't, because your prescription is for Allegra.
7. Spend twenty minutes setting up the "secure messaging system" you need to contact Microsoft HR and Premera Blue Cross about your prescription. Wonder why you couldn't just use secure E-mail like you did at Netscape back in 1998. How hard can it be to get a cert?
8. Wait two days for a reply back from Microsoft HR and Premera Blue Cross. Read it.
9. Option 1: Call Medco, the mail order pharmacy which you must use [if you don't, you have to pay the full price for your prescription. This isn't particularly annoying to me, but imagine if you ran out of your allergy meds and needed them immediately because you were suffering an allergy attack... ugly]. Tell them you want the generic equivalent of your prescription. Wait on hold for ten minutes.
10. When the rep comes back on the line, listen to her tell you that this is impossible because your script is for Allegra. Thank her, and then suffer through five minutes of customer satisfaction survey questions just because you don't want to offend her by telling her to shut the fuck up.
11. Next, call the doctor's office. Listen to all of the voice mail prompts. Ignore the one telling you to hang up and call your pharmacy if you need a refill.
12. When you get a person on the line, explain what's going on and that you need a prescription rewritten to explicitly allow the generic equivalent of Allegra.
13. Ask her to fax it to Medco's toll-free number. Listen as she explains that she cannot do that as it's against office policy. Allow her to mail it to you instead.
14. When you get the prescription, decide whether or not you'll try to have it filled locally [which may result in an $80 charge for the prescription - after all, you are required to mail-order anything you've had a prescription for before], or whether you'll fax it to Medco yourself [which they may not allow, as theoretically you could have altered the script between the doctor's office and your fax machine].
I'm so glad Microsoft has these awesome cost cutting policies in place. They really make productive use of the time Microsoft pays me to be in the office, and I'm sure they make a significant contribution to Microsoft's bottom line.