Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cutting Corners




For most of you, this will be Ho-Hum because it doesn't pertain to you at all. You have your own health insurance and pay your premiums or you ride the shirttails of your spouse's. This is for the rest of us and if it helps anyone save money, GOOD!

When I retired in February of 2005, I lost my health insurance. Because Donica's company does not support domestic partners in their policy, I've been on my own to figure out how to be "insured." I did settle on something that isn't exactly an insurance company but does make deductions on all kinds of procedures, office visits and meds.

I found out, however, that a 3-month supply (90 pills) of my cholesterol med was $1 more at regular pharmacies, with my drug benefit, than that same med/amount at our BJ's wholesale club (like Costco and Sam's) without the benefit (which they don't accept). So, no savings there. BUT my BJ's pharmacist told me that if my doctor would change my 10mg/day pill for 20mg/day cut in half (45 pills), it would save me money. DUH! So, instead of paying $257 for 3 months, I pay $130 and cut the pills in half myself. I even love using that gadget (above).

Donica says you can't do this with all meds. But thank God, this one is okay. It's a no-brainer.

And guess what! Next July 2007, her company is adding domestic partners to their policy, at which time my meds will be cut in half again! Woo-hoo!

20 comments:

  1. oh geeze. IT sort of sounds like my right of passage here. Taking forever to get benefits and well now you know it's even longer... But I'm happy it's finally happening.

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  2. Interesting post on election day, Aunt Boots! ;)

    I'm glad you have figured out a way to save money on your meds.

    You didn't ask, but my opinion on the unstated issue of domestic benefits is not a traditional one. I feel that it's not a matter of "legal union", but committed residency. How that gets proven, I'm not sure. (Guess that's why I'm not running for an elected office...unlike them, I don't have answers for every problem in our country...wait, I'm digressing!!)

    Bottom line--I think it's a shame, with the commitment you and Donica have, that she cannot name you on her health insurance. I'm glad you've figured out this savings!!

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  3. ET: Yup for both of us!

    Mrs. M/Shari: WOW! I never even once thought about election day when I submitted this post. And I have just come back from voting! :)

    I really like your idea of "committed residency" because it covers all domestic partners, straight and/or gay. Donica's mom, for instance, is not married to her straight partner of several years, as so often happens with seniors. There is a benchmark, I think, in how many years a couple has been together related to other issues. Can't remember what it is.

    Having said that, a straight MARRIED couple has the benefits starting with day one. And straight domestic partners can still choose to get married. That sounds really nice right now! However, in the meantime, I, too, am glad we were able to figure it out...and that I'm not a chronically sick person who would have needed more coverage than I now have. It all works out in the end, for some of us.

    Thanks for your support!

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  4. I have one of those cool little choppers too! I read that if the pill has a little guideline marked on it then it is okay to cut it in half, otherwise it's best not to. But that's interesting about saving money by getting the stronger dose and halfing it. Good idea!

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  5. One of the things I can't complain about here in Germany is the health care system. I've been fully covered since the day I started work.

    Glad to hear that Donica's company is getting with it and will be offering their new benefit next year. It should have been ten years ago.

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  6. T1: That makes sense about the guideline mark on the pill as the way to tell. My pill does NOT have that but my doctor gave me the go-ahead, so I guess it's okay. Donica says that you can't guarantee that cutting a pill in half will give you the same strength in each half unless it's been made that way.

    J: So much of the world has a better healthcare system! Not that I'm complaining. Yes, it should have been 10 years ago!

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  7. Thank goodness Donica's company will be able to cover you next year!

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  8. Ohhh, here my english is not so good and all those counting and rules get me a little mixed up... but I get the idea. So, I'm really glad to see you're able to have fun with all those questions! This is cool! :O)

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  9. Dixie: I totally agree!

    Clo: I love your English! You are such a good sport with it and your humor ALWAYS comes through. I need to get your sister, MP, in on this conversation, right? :) I'm sure she knows all about pill cutting!

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  10. Wow, good thing you did your research. A penny saved is a penny earned, right? And that's a substantial saving. I've heard that too about the meds in some pills not being evenly distributed - many thyroid patients need to cut their tablets in half or even smaller to get just the right dosage - but if your doctor says it's OK, then I'm sure it's fine. And the "domestic partner" news is wonderful. That's definitely the way it should be.

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  11. You're one smart cookie, Ms. Ginnie. I never would've thought of this and now I sure won't forget it. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Christina: Yes, indeed! A penny saved IS a penny earned!

    Lisa: Sometimes when you're desperate you figure it out :)

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  13. Ginnie, this is so YOU!! I love it. I wish I were more vigilant, like you. But knowing there is a doohickey to do this chopping, it makes the whole thing easier, and as you said, fun. Good for Solvay for getting with it!

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  14. Ruth: Last year the Atlanta office hired a new HR director who happens to be gay. Everywhere he goes, he apparently affects this change in policy! What a legacy!

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  15. Wow, that is incredible. Good for him.

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  16. Congrats on your impending eligiblity for health insurance benefits. Funnily enough I had coverage when I had a domestic partner and lost it when we split.

    Massachusetts recently enacted a law that all adults must be covered by health insurance. So sometime next year I will be covered once again too. Under penalty of law if I don't. What a crazy country we live in.

    Glad your pils are splitable and that you have a pharmacist that's on the ball!

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  17. Yes, Jozee. A very crazy country indeed! So glad you, too, will be covered next year!

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