Another Reason to Love Our Kroger

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.

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9 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this! I don’t know where the Lavergne Kroger is (I’m guessing M’boro Rd maybe) but I’m going to find it & check them out!

  2. As a nurse myself, I completely agree with you regarding the state of our healthcare payer system. I’m sure you’ve thought of this tactic, but for other readers, ask your doctor for samples. Publix offers free popular generic antibiotics. I know of someone who asked for Kroger to “match the price” (in this case $0.00) and received them free. Worth a try! I enjoy your writings, NFC, keep ’em coming!

  3. This isn’t a “negative” comment aimed at Kroger. Just a pet peeve, I can’t stand lazy people who park their buggy behind my car or leave it in an empty parking space. This has happened to me twice. Jeez, people, take the 30 seconds to return it to the corral or the storefront. OK, I feel better now that I got that off my chest. hehe

  4. I agree, something has got to change with our healthcare system. I don’t blame health insurance companies, their profit margins have remained steady over the years, but the cost of actual healthcare goes up so much every year, so that cost has to be passed along to us.

    If I were elected President tomorrow, the first thing I would do is eliminate company sponsored health insurance. Your employer does not pay for your car insurance or your homeowners insurance, and usually not your life insurance. Why are they paying for your health insurance? I know most of you probably think this would be a bad idea, but I don’t think so. This would empower individuals to once again take control of their healthcare. There are too many advantages to group healthcare (no pre-existing exclusions, cannot be dropped, etc) that our state insurance department says is mandatory for group insurance, but not individual insurance? My company pays for my health insurance, but I have to pay for my wife and son, and while I won’t say what my out of pocket expense is, I could buy a nice car with the money I’m spending on health insurance for two healthy 27 year olds and a baby. If we would simply allow groups of individuals to apply for insurance outside of an employer-sponsored program, we would have more choice over what type of plan we want and how much we are willing to pay.

    NFC – Is there something medically wrong with your partner that she cannot get an individual health policy?

  5. Magmom- Thanks! I’ll do my best :)

    michaelinLV – there’s nothing medically wrong, and she can and will have individual coverage, but the cost of paying for insurance on an individual policy will be nearly what we pay for our car. And it’s not a clunker, either. Without the employer picking up a portion of the tab, the entire cost of insurance falls upon us. I’m not saying someone else should pay a portion of my health care, or my wife’s, I’m just saying, for someone like her, who is generally healthy and rarely goes to the doctor, insurance should not cost so much. I concede that for me, with epilepsy, overweight, asthma, sure, charge me more since I’ll visit the dr. more often. But her cost is absurd.

  6. Trust me, I completely agree about the cost. I thought for sure individual health insurance for my wife would be cheaper than with the group, but it was not. That’s why our laws need to be changed so that they encourage individuals buying their own health insurance instead of discouraging that practice as it is today.

    I work in insurance brokerage and would be happy to refer you to an independent agent who could provide you with some possibly better options. I would suggest a high deductible policy ($2500 – $5000). This keeps your premiums low. If you go to the doctor, yes, it will probably cost $50 – $100, but if something serious were to happen, $5000 would be a lot less than open heart surgery at $100,000 with no health insurance.

  7. Also, has she asked her employer for a raise equal to the amount that the employer was previously paying for health insurance? I know in many situations the employers just want to get rid of future 7%-15% annual increases, so they’ll go ahead and give their employees a raise equal to the previous benefit amount.

  8. michaelinLV: I could probably use your services. I am currently paying COBRA rates for myself after I lost my job due to a stroke. Damn rate is not much less than my house note, but no insurance company will touch me. I had to drop coverage for my (self-employed/fairly healthy) husband and totally healthy daughter completely, which scares me to death. When you have a minute, please shoot me an e-mail at predfan15@yahoo.com and perhaps you can give me some referrals. Thanks.

  9. michaelinLV, thanks, I appreciate the info. At this time, we are going to pay individually to keep the same insurance that she’s had, which is kinda expensive. if you can refer to someone who may be able to top the price, pass that name along! you can email me at nomoreemptyfortunecookies@gmail.com
    Thanks!

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