O health care, where art thou?

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part”

Killer Tom Petty song…and absolutely true. I figured since I was among the ranks of the unemployed once again and STILL without health, dental & vision coverage,  this would be a good time to blog and post about it. Especially since we’re expecting an arctic front here in Texas and my sinuses are going wackydoodles from all the fungus and mountain cedar. I’m fortunate to have a really good P.A. (physician’s assistant, for those not in the know), in that she will give me samples, if at all possible, since she knows I have no coverage and not much money. I’m already on the last little bit of Nasonex  my allergist gave me, though I try to use it sparingly and make it stretch further.

When I had my follow up appointment with my P.A. the 27th of last month, we covered the usual topics regarding my health, then finally come to the part where she gives me my prescriptions and tells me which lab tests she wants. Since I was “self-pay” and only had enough money to cover the $78 office visit, I told her there’s no way I can have the lab tests that day. Naturally, she was a bit concerned since one of the prescriptions was for 50,000 unit capsules of Vitamin D to stabilize my deficiency. (I should point out that the last test results showed my vitamin D level at 7…normal would be around 30, hence her concern) She also wanted to do a CBC (complete blood count) and a CIMT (a sort of mini-ultrasound of the carotid artery used to detect possible heart disease). <sigh> Soooo, I was allowed to take my leave but I had to set an appointment for the CIMT, as well as the nurse visit to draw blood for the lab tests. Since I couldn’t afford my prescriptions for Zoloft, Vitamin D and Fosamax +D on that day(12/27) , I waited until payday (12/31) to pick them up. I had time since I was told 12/30 would be my last day at work, right? So anyway,  I head to the pharmacy to pick them up and the tech asks me if I have insurance (nope, self-pay I tell her) and she tells me the cost of each of my prescriptions. Okay, Sertraline (generic zoloft) $42.79, Vitamin D2 $21.49, Fosamax +D $109.39, wait…what??? Good grief, Charlie Brown!! Guess which one did NOT come home with me? And so it goes, my friends. This is how I keep making my osteoporosis worse…can’t afford the medication. <<sigh>>

I have no idea how much all the blood tests cost but I do know that without some sort of health insurance, there’s no way I can pay for them (let alone the prescriptions I need on a monthly basis) in addition to the office visit. Because I’ve been a patient for so long, I was given a brochure (of sorts) about a program founded by a group of primary care physicians in my area. It’s called the Jefferson Independence Card and membership is free. (ah, gratis…the price is right!) Before you get all excited, it currently represents a wide are of North Texas only. So why am I even telling you about it?? I’m not the only uninsured person that truly needs ongoing medical care. Many employers have health coverage available but what if you get laid off? What if the business folds? More importantly, what if you can’t afford to have the health benefits deducted from your paycheck because you need every penny you can get to pay your bills? These are ALL questions I’ve either asked myself or that have applied to me and my situation. They have a website and an email address…what would it hurt to shoot ’em a flare and find out how to get the physicians in YOUR area on board with this?

Okay, now I know the folks on Capitol Hill are working on health care reform but for many of us, waiting for them to get their sh*t together and agree on a plan is just not feasible. Whether you agree or disagree with President Obama and whether or not you like or dislike him, he has good intentions and I believe he really does want to change things for the better. The problem is, while we’re all screaming for change, we become averse to it when it looks like it may actually come to fruition and then we start bitching about why it either won’t work or it’s just not what we were expecting. (if you’ve ever worked in an office that’s made mid-year policy changes, you know what I mean). My intention is not to get political but to remind you that sweeping health care reform has been the talk of every presidency since Eisenhower and we have yet to implement anything everyone can agree on. When it comes to the legislative processes  of D.C. and their press releases , many of us feel like this…

I’m not always sure what or whom to believe so you’ll have to forgive my middle-aged cynicism. I just figure talk is talk until I see results, at least where that is concerned. But I’m quite certain our government will come up with something and we’ll just have to hammer out the “bugs” as we go. In the meantime, I’ve found a couple companies that offer either dental/vision or health/dental/vision at a reasonable price (and believe me, I’ve been looking for quite a while). They seem to be pretty affordable for folks like me who have to live on unemployment benefits until a permanent job comes along. I’ll provide the links at the end of the post and you can check them out for yourself. As for the Jefferson card, I’ll provide a link to their website as well so you can at least get an idea what they’re about and perhaps print out a few pages for your local physician. I’m pretty sure they would be receptive to making their program nationally available, pending a feasible government-based national health care plan.

SafeGuard Dental & Vision (a subsidiary of MetLife) https://www.safeguard.net/default.html

Careington (recently featured on Good Morning America)  https://www1.careington.com

Jefferson Independence Card (North Texas only) http://www.jeffersonicard.com/

I sincerely hope you’re able to find something for yourself or someone you know who’s putting off medical care because they can’t afford it. And we should all have faith in our President and Congress to find a happy medium where health care reform is concerned. Until next time…

  & hair grease, y’all!!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Randi Marshall
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 07:20:29

    Well written, Ne….


  2. Dave
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 08:06:53

    Nice blog! Well written and not whiney, just the facts. Good job! Good luck with the job hunting. Tell your PA hi and glad she’s trying to take care of the problems.

    If you can, get some sun! One of the best sources for Vit. D!!



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