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Written By: Gary on September 23, 2009 No Comment

Will Farrell and friends speak out to help insurance companies.

Found at Feministing.

I like Will Ferrell when he’s not running around with his hair on fire (or other stupid stuff).

And yes, I know I’ve been posting too many videos lately :(

Written By: Gary on August 27, 2009 3 Comments

I’ve generally had pretty great health insurance. But I’ve been bothered that so many people have no insurance. This is a simplification of the benefits of socialized health ‘insurance’.

Here’s the direct link to it YouTube.

Here’s the thing: I think that some kind of socialized health will probably personally affect me negatively. I think that companies that offer great insurance will cut back a bit and it’ll cost me more out of pocket either at work or in my taxes (even if they don’t cut back, it’ll cost me in my taxes). But for more people to have better health care I’m willing to lose some of mine.

* Disclaimer: This is my view-point. I’m not very political. I’m (mostly) just sharing this cartoon and titled the post the same as the video. But feel free to offer your 2 cents on the video.

Written By: Gary on March 1, 2008 10 Comments

First of all, I love Medco for so many reasons, but the fact that all the annoying things they do basically annoy me sometimes makes me wonder if it’s worth it. I’ll list what I like:

  • I’ve been very fortunate and pay virtually nothing for my prescriptions, at a local store I pay $5 a month and with Medco I pay $2 (total) for 3 months. Now that’s my current insurance plan and not Medco so it’s not a plus just for them (and my co-pay is about to go way up).
  • I can call with a drug question at any time and they can get an answer for me (I’m not sure if they’re 24 hours, but I know I’ve called close to midnight on a holiday before).
  • I can renew on-line and see my history of everything they’ve mailed to me for a long while.
  • They give me postage paid envelopes to mail in prescriptions.

    So this is where my “What I hate about Medco” rant starts, it’s everything else they kind of make as annoying as possible and it’s got to cast them money and time (mine too!). It’s really strange considering they’ve got the normal part perfect from a customer service standpoint (see above). It’s the odd things that they handle strangely, for example:

  • They called me the other day and left a message so I had to call back and they had to transfer me to two other people to figure out why they called me (plus they disconnected me once). Here’s what it is: the off brand of something works better for me ansod the doctor wrote it that way, they were actually calling me to tell me that they’re shipping me what I ordered and next time I should check to see if they have it in stock. I’m sure I’ve been using this for several years and had it written the same way every time and it’s never wasted 20 minutes of my life on the phone before. Besides the doctor wrote it for the drug I want (DAW=dispense as written), they shouldn’t ship me anything but that, I shouldn’t need to call them for them to ship me the correct drug, right? Big huge waste of my time and theirs.
  • Most calls that I’ve had to return to them over the years go that way, it takes them a whole to figure out why I’m calling (and I have the ref number they gave me) and it just takes forever and it’s usually on something odd.
  • They don’t handle multiple addresses very well considering they do ship out drugs that need to be kept cold (in the middle of summer I ship that stuff to work). So you have to change the computer address when you have them refill that medicine so it goes where you want.
  • In the mean time if you mail in a prescription with the other address pre-printed on the form and circle it in red and write in big letters “ship here” they still call you to make sure that’s where you want it shipped (duh!).
  • And then all paper-work notifications go to the work address since you had to change your address to that location. They need a way for you “billing”/paperwork address to be a different address.
  • When you go on-line in February and they list drugs they can be refilled in March if you click “refill now” for many of them you will get mailings or phone calls (I can’t figure out how they choose) that complain that “you filled them too soon” even though they told you to!
  • Today, I got a phone call for some prescriptions that the doctor sent in electronically on Monday and they’ll ship on March 3rd. For one thing if I needed it today, I wouldn’t have mailed it in, but why did it take them until Saturday to not know they won’t ship it until next week?

    The other big annoyance is everything they leave you a message about is useless since none of it mentions the drug name. It’s all some prescription number which means nothing to me. I understand they don’t want to violate HIPA, but it’s simple enough to check the file and see that it says: this guy wants us to leave him his information in a message this would be convenient to him and not any kind of violation since he requests it. This seems like a pretty simple process for them to impalement for the sake of customer service (it’d be like locking or unlocking your domain name).

    They do e-mail me some information (generally on shipment) but it’s also lacking the drug name, which is silly since I assume most of the population (not me) uses the same password for their e-mail as they do for the medical website it’s probably not protecting anything. But I don’t understand why they just don’t mail me everything.

    So as I said, I normally pay $5 for a prescription and I can get 3 months from mailing in for only $2. But when my insurance changes that’s going to go up to $10 a month and mail-in will be $20 for 3 months. I’m still saving money, but can I do better (or just as well) with local stores and coupons or with bonuses that they always offer to switch stores? Sure that’d be an annoyance but at least they’d be annoying me on my terms…

  • Written By: Gary on August 30, 2007 One Comment

    This is really more about health costs, not my problems. As far as I know I’m fine, but they’ve been trying to diagnose a minor problem (although I guess I’m not qualified to say it’s “minor”) so don’t worry…

    This is the story – I’m finally getting copies of the insurance bills for a big test (had to be unconscious for the test, I think that’s the only reason it was in the hospital) and so far they total up to about $3,300! and I haven’t paid a penny. Please note that this doesn’t even include my initial visit to my doctor and the two visits to the specialist (which all included tests) and each of the visits each included a prescription or two (I’ve probably paid less than $75 for all that). That’s a lot of money, and if I didn’t have insurance I’d be happy to spend money on getting better but so far I don’t think anything has helped (maybe I’m a little better since this started in late April but I might just be getting used to it or maybe I’d just be getting better anyways) and I don’t think the tests dound anything. I’m sure the costs would be a bit less if I were paying for it out my own pocket, but still…I can’t imagine not having great insurance let alone not having insurance at all. We’ve got great unions in Michigan and probably even more so in the Detroit area so that’s always benefitted me (medical and dental benefits). I just can’t imagine not having it. I’ve always been very fortunate with having great health insurance and they very few times I haven’t, I’ve not had to really use it.

    I don’t know the solution for health in this country but I think we need to concentrate more of the USofA resources on health. People should be able to count on good health, education and food; I think these items qualify for the whole “life, liberty and happiness” thing (I’ll clarify these points if I ever run for office).

    Speaking of insurance for everyone, in Michigan we’ve got a pretty decent Children’s Health Insurance program called MiChild for only $10 a month for your child. You have to be a low income family and I’m not sure what the requirement/formula is but I thought I’d mention it since I was mentioning insurance (I guess it’s only good if you actually qualify). If you have kids and no insurance in Michigan please check out this program and apply for your kids. They have a dental program that can be signed up for too.

    I guess I really don’t have much else to say other than I’m very fortunate in this case and very thankful for great insurance (and thankful it’s not a bigger problem). It’s not that I want them to find something wrong, it’s just that if there is something wrong I want them to find it sooner.

    I haven’t had the follow-up yet (in a few weeks), so I don’t have a diagnosis yet, but I’m thinking if they found something from the tests or the biopsy they’d have gotten me in sooner (or called me). So I’m assuming they’ll be no diagnosis, I’m guessing they’ll try more drugs and if that doesn’t help, maybe another similar test (yuk!) later…

    Disclaimer: I’m sure at some point in the future insurance companies will be googling for pre-existing conditions on the ‘net. So I almost didn’t write this post. For the future googlers, to set the record straight, I confess that my problem is there is a banana growing out of my forehead, so if you are looking to insure me in the future and there is no banana that means I’m cured(!) and there is nothing preexisting…

    Written By: Gary on January 7, 2007 No Comment

    Pict1918-1So there are somethings we really take for granted but it just isn’t the same everywhere else. For instance:

  • Medicine – While I was at the farmicia (drug store) I saw a family come in to get a single (1) Allegra tablet (the are actually individually wrapped). Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see how much one was. With my insurance, which I’m very thankful for, I get a three month supply for only $2 (via mail-order). I don’t have any idea what they paid, but I’m sure it was more than two-and-a-half cents, but maybe not, you never know. I’m assuming they cost enough to where you don’t keep a jar of them at home.
  • Coleman cooler – Here’s what we would consider to be a normal sized Coleman cooler (one of the larger ones, not the small ones that just hold a 5 pack). It’s about $63, that’s a lot of money here. We talked to a waiter last night (at a the nicest restaurant I’ve ever been to in Costa Rica) and he makes about $30 a day including tips, now remember things cost less here but that’s still two days wages here. At minimum wage it’s probably a 1/2 days wages, and remember that’s minimum wage.
  • Health care – so many of the places are remote it can be hours to a hospital, and that’s only if you have a way to get transportation to where you are when you need the help. I don’t think there’s even one here in Jaco, you probably have to go to Punteranes or San Jose (about 2 hours, maybe a little less).

    I’m sure I’ll add to this list as I think of more…

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