Why doesn’t Caremark care about my insulin pump?

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By Christopher Elliott

First, Caremark agrees to cover Ben Schwartz’s insulin pump. Then it refuses. Is there anything he can do to make Caremark honor its word?


Caremark is not properly applying my family’s prescription benefits, and customer service has not been able to resolve the issue. Between my wife and me, we have spoken to them three times and exchanged five secure messages.

My wife is diabetic and uses an insulin pump. We had been getting her prescriptions filled at the local CVS pharmacy except for insulin pump supplies. The pump supplies are not available at the local pharmacy. We ordered it through Caremark mail order (CVS is owned by Caremark). Our prescription plan includes a diabetic kit benefit where certain prescriptions can be filled at the same time for a single copay. I was assured it would be processed correctly.

Late last year, my wife asked via Caremark.com Secure Message whether the insulin pump supplies qualified under the diabetes kit benefit. The customer service representative said that they did qualify . He also recommended that we transfer the prescriptions from the local pharmacy to the mail order pharmacy in order to take advantage of it. And we did so.

The diabetic kit benefit was not applied to any of the items

I called Caremark customer service and they resubmitted the order to have the benefits properly applied. The benefit was then applied to her test strips, but not the insulin pump supplies. I followed up by phone, providing the specific prescription numbers when requested by the representative, and was assured that it would be processed correctly.

We have continued to follow up via Secure Message. We reached a different representative each time. They were all unfamiliar with the issue and doesn’t adequately address it. For example, several of the messages refer to the test strips, which have now been processed correctly, and not the insulin pump supplies.

It is very frustrating that this issue has consumed so much time with no resolution. Would you please fix this issue for this and future orders? — Ben Schwartz, Huntsville, Ala.


You’re not alone. My advocacy team recently resolved a case in which a reader received $13,000 worth of tablets in error from a pharmacy.

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Caremark, a retail pharmacy and healthcare company, should accurately detail benefits, fulfill orders as promised, and maintain a record of calls like yours for “quality assurance purposes.” In situations where clarity is needed, Caremark should readily provide transcripts. And since your subsequent interactions with Caremark occurred via their “secure” messenger, these exchanges should have been documented in writing, rendering this a clear-cut case.

Caremark is an enormous company, which is probably why your prescription got lost in the shuffle. That’s not an excuse; more like a call to action. If it can’t get the details of your order right, maybe it’s in the wrong line of work.

But perhaps in trying to reinvent the pharmacy, Caremark left a few important things out, like filling the order as promised. There is still time to fix the problem, and I won’t disagree that pharmacies need reinventing. Just maybe not like this.

I was ready to contact Caremark on your behalf. But before I did, you needed to produce a paper trail of correspondence between you and the company. Fortunately for you, my amazing research team had published the names, numbers and email addresses of the top executives at Caremark on my advocacy site.

Caremark’s generous offer

You contacted the company by email and copied me. A “very understanding representative” from the Caremark executive resolution team got in touch with you. After a little research, he discovered that the issue stemmed from an “internal miscommunication about the appropriate benefits” at Caremark. Turns out the insulin pump supplies were not supposed to be included in your benefit.

Because Caremark made the mistake, they offered to cover the cost of these supplies for the rest of the year — a more than generous offer that you gratefully accepted.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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