Becoming a Vegan

Over the past few months, I’ve gradually become a vegetarian, and am now tending toward veganism (someone who neither eats nor utilizes animal-based products). It wasn’t a conscious decision. I didn’t say to myself, “Gee, what can I do to change things up and liven up my life?” (Although that’s exactly what happened.) It’s been … Continue reading

Superbugs now higher risk, says FDA

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The following quotes are from: Farmers advised to curb antibiotics: Superbugs now higher risk, says FDA By Beth Marie Mole San Jose Mercury News This article appeared in the Arkanasas Democrat Gazette on Sunday, May 20, 2012, Business Section, Page 8G. “In the past several decades, health-care professionals as well as veterinarians have seen a steep … Continue reading

A heart attack and a trip to the E.R.

Perhaps I should be sleeping. Instead, I’m sitting in the stillness of my mother’s apartment. A grandfather clock ticks. An aged air conditioner rattles and hums. It’s 8:30, and little in this retirement community stirs after dark. Only last night I was loading my bags into the car, preparing to leave Clearwater (Florida) by 6:00 … Continue reading

Exasperated by everyday rip-offs

I am so very tired of being ripped off.

In September of last year, our drug benefits (through my husband’s workplace) were switched to a company called MedImpact. We received a letter, telling us about the change. It said we would soon be receiving new identification cards.

January came, and we still didn’t receive the cards. So I wrote to them explaining the situation.

In April, I had to pay a pharmacy $49 for Alendronate, because we still didn’t have our identification cards. I called MedImpact to say once again that we needed the cards, and to request a drug reimbursement form for the Alendronate. It took 45 minutes to navigate MedImpact’s menus and finally reach someone. Part of the problem – speaking to someone requires an identification number – which only appears on the front of the ID card.

A week later the claim form arrives, but I can’t fill it out because I still don’t have the card and the crucial identification number. The cards arrives a couple of weeks later.

Anyway… I file the claim form and wait. Then I receive a statement saying the claim has been denied.

So I call again.  “I don’t know why you received that,” said the customer representative (ironic term). “It says here your claim was approved. You’ll be receiving a check in about a month.”

So several months later, I’m calling again. I’m told that the patient is never reimbursed if they pay more to the pharmacy than MedImpact does. In most cases, the $10 copay is greater than the amount that would be returned to the pharmacy. In my case, I paid five times that – so I’ll receive no reimbursement.

So not only am I out $40 (and tons of time), but I now know that the vast majority of drugs should cost less than $10 for a one-month supply. In the case of Alendronate, the pharmacy is paid $7 for the $49 drug. So why am I not feeling better?

However, I was reassured that a few drugs cost hundreds of dollars. In those cases, the copay’s a great deal. (But most of the time we’re being ripped off? Still not feeling it.)

Meanwhile… My husband was trying to change the oil himself, and somehow managed to crunch the oil filter. He couldn’t get it off so we took it (against my protests) to the local Ford dealer. They said they could get it off, and would charge us $9.95 for the oil change. Hurray.

But then they told hubby that the tires were askew and that it would cost $95 in labor per tire to fix the problem. I wasn’t happy, especially when they called to say they’d be keeping the car overnight.

“They’re going to walk you up,” I said, “This $200 job will probably be $500.”

Hubby didn’t think so.

But first thing this morning Ford calls. The car is ready, but it took more time to fix than anticipated. The cost is now $360 – an 89% increase in the estimated cost.

I have no love for the place. Ever since they charged us roughly $285 for two keys and to replace a light bulb last year. And to add insult to injury, it took them all day while I sat in the waiting room.

I’m honestly not sure if our system is free enterprise or open theft. But I do know that it’s annoying to clip coupons to save perhaps $300/year, when these large companies will steal that same amount away in a matter of weeks. So I’m penny-pinching so I have more to hand the robber?

And then I read about Super-PACS, basically corporately funded, Supreme-Court sanctioned, campaigns for those seeking public office. Some are owned by billionaires. So I get to vote to select which company will represent us? Too Orwellian.