I’ve got health-care on my mind today. You see, my wife’s employer announced yesterday that they will be loosing their health insurance, and that scares me. I’ve lived without health insurance before, and inevitably, as soon as the insurance is gone, a medical emergency arises. Its Murphy’s Law #249. Now, for the average family out there, no sweat, you’d add your husband/wife to your company’s health insurance policy, case closed. But for us, it’s a bit more complicated. After a quick check with my human resources department today, I was advised that although my company is quite progressive in many ways, domestic partner benefits are not available at this time. Wifester and I were married, legally married, with a license and everything, in Canada in April of 2007. Unfortunately, that amounts to a hill of beans here in the good ole’ USA, land of the free. I’m not here to argue politics about gay rights, equality, or sanctity of marriage. I do that stuff on my own blog. I just want my wife to be able to have access to health-care. I think it’s pretty ironic that she is a nurse, working for a physician’s clinic, providing health care on a daily basis, and could now potentially be one of the 42.6 million Americans without health insurance and access to the same care she gives her patients. The problem is the clinic is small, only one doctor. She says she simply can not afford to continue to keep the insurance for her employees any longer. Now that’s just not right. Why is health insurance so expensive that a physician can’t afford to provide her 4 person staff with coverage? That answer has so many layers, most can be argued until we are all blue in the face, but the facts are, we have placed the power of substantial profit in the hands of politicians, insurance companies and the drug manufactures. Case in point: Since we’ve been shopping at the new Kroger, we decided to take them up on the offer, via a coupon, to transfer my prescriptions from Walgreens to Kroger. In exchange, we received a $60.00 credit toward groceries. Bingo! It was time for me to have my epi-shot refilled, among other meds, so we dropped them off and shopped. Epi-shots, for those of you who don’t have severe allergic reactions, are very expensive. Of course I did have a coupon for $20.00 bucks off, but still, when the prescriptions were ready, and I whipped out my visa to pay, the total, for the shot, and two other prescriptions, came to under $40.00! I was shocked. I asked if there was a mistake. The pharmacist advised me that he was able to get some of the medication at a lower cost than my insurance charges, so he didn’t run it through my insurance. WOW! Walgreen’s never did that. (Yet another reason to big pink puffy heart our new Kroger, by the way.) Plus, yes, there’s more here… he filled THREE MONTHS worth, rather than one month, still at a lower cost than my copay. Walgreens never did that either. So now, at Kroger, I have three months worth of medications for less than one month’s at Walgreens. I have epilepsy. I take seizure medication daily. It’s expensive too. The Kroger pharmacy just saved me $240 a year on medications, simply by filling a three month supply at the rate that Walgreens was filling a one month supply. *batting eyes* Is it any wonder I’m in love with my new pharmacy? But it leaves me to ponder, why do our insurance companies charge us such higher prices than our darling pharmacists can get our medications for?
Because they hope that we don’t know an honest pharmacist, and because they know that we’ll pay whatever the cost for potentially life saving medications – making them even more money.
One thing I’ve learned in life is that nothing changes if nothing changes. I believe that the current system is in dire need of a serious overhaul. Leaving it as is will only drain our economey even further, hurting more and more businesses, who can not afford to keep insurance for their employees, while jacked up medication prices and astronomical hospital charges set the precedent for yet more and more inflated prices in the future. Yes, its time to stop the cycle. Meanwhile, at least I know that we can go to our new Kroger *love* and fill Wifester’s epi-shot without insurance, if necessary, and pay way, way, WAY less than we were paying at Walgreens. And you know what? That pharmacist at Kroger talked to us. He joked around. He smiled and greeted us and get this, he THANKED us for our business. But above and beyond all of that, he saved me $240.00 a year on one medication alone, and that’s not even counting the $60.00 store credit, and that’s something to feel good about right here in La Vergne.
Filed under: Elected Officials, Random Stuff | 9 Comments »