little emergencies.

9 06 2012

i know i promised that i was done talking about gross medical stuff for a while, but what i really meant is that i was done talking about gross fibroid related medical stuff for a while. and i totally am. actually, things in that area appear to be going pretty well.

but as appears to be the law when it comes to my health, it’s time for something else to go wrong. nothing big, just a really amazing UTI. but enough to send me to the emergency again. i really need to get a big jar to save all of my hospital bracelets in. i’m getting quite the impressive collection.

but, i wouldn’t be bothering  you with the exciting details off my busted urinary tract if i hadn’t learned a valuable lesson or two in the process of peeing in that cup (pictured at left). Read the rest of this entry »

surprise attack.

28 06 2011

a few months ago (at the big thaw actually), i had a heinous allergic reaction that caused my feet and legs to be covered in enormous, swollen, itchy hives (see inset). it was a pretty sexy look, but i figured i’d take  a brief jaunt to the emergency room, just in case.

unfortunately, my hives went away while i was sitting on the gurney in my very flattering hospital johnny. actually, one of the hot doctors (for some reason the maine med ER docs are always super sexy) actually uttered the phrase “wow, i’m watching the hives disappear in front of my eyes”. at which point like 3 more doctors came in, asked me all the same questions, and then they told me to go home and take a benadryl.


about a month later, i was pleasantly surprised to get a bill from maine med for a mere $0 for my visit. way to go insurance!


friday, i got a replacement bill for $362.


as you might remember, i was just scraping by last month. and i made it work. i ate dinner at home and had $3 beers! i didn’t have to dip into my saving’s account to pay my bills! but things are still tight. i just can’t afford a big chunk of change like that right now and have any chance of catching up with my finances.

i have a feeling that these kinds of bills (unexpected expenses!) are the kinds of bills that really get people in trouble.  i have certainly been more than guilty of putting off paying a medical bill for as long as i possibly can (usually until they send me the letter telling me it’s about to go into collections), even when it’s only like $8. but unlike that situation, this isn’t the kind of circumstance where i can pay it off indiana jones style at the last minute. i don’t have $362 extra dollars now, and i probably won’t anytime soon.

so what now? Read the rest of this entry »

$5 a pill.

2 01 2010

no, it’s not the street value of the valium you found in your mother’s drawer (that’s more like $2-$3 )- it’s how much i used to spend on my acid reflux medication when i didn’t have insurance. don’t get me started on what’s wrong with the current health insurance situation in america… i have experienced it firsthand! the 2 years i spent without it were some of the most horribly stressful of my life- and no small contributing factor to my current huge personal debt.  as it so happens, my parents are genetic minefields, and i’ve wound up with a host of non-life threatening but totally irritating chronic conditions that require daily medication:

1. debilitating allergies & chronic hives

2. acid reflux

3. athsma

4. ok, this one doesn’t have anything to do with my parents- but i am also on the pill. (genetic predisposition to not want to get knocked up?)

so when i stumbled across this article about low cost health care, i thought maybe it would have some helpful tips that i could share with other people who might be in the same position i was  a few years ago. maybe there were some resources that i hadn’t found on my own… OR NOT. this was the lamest article i’ve ever read. thanks for the tip on sending CDC e-cards… or getting free ice cream… what the fuck? somebody needs to jaunt over to the l.a. times and give francesca lunzer kritz a good smack in the mouth. i seriously can’t believe somebody actually paid her for that garbage.

but on to some things that are actually helpful! the l.a. times might not know shit, but i figured out a few things when i was slumming it (medically speaking) that might come in handy to some.

6 things you can do to lower your prescription drug costs:

1. go OTC. i once paid $152 for a medication that had already gone over the counter under a different name- and my doctor never even bothered to tell me. it is always worth checking with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your meds have gone over the counter. now, instead of $152 a month (or even $30 when i had prescription coverage), i pay $10 or less at the rite aid or cvs (depending on who has the better deal, and what coupons i can scrounge)- and with programs like rite aid zyrtec rewards, i often end up getting cash back.

2. go generic. if you can’t get it over the counter, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a comparable generic drug. most of the time, doctor’s aren’t thinking about the lowest cost option- and generally prescribe the name brand medication (which is always more expensive). there also might be a different similar drug that is a lower price.

3. beg for samples. in my most dire of financial straits, my doctor would always hook me up with (literally) bags of free samples when i explained to him my situation. medical offices get tons of them free from drug companies in an effort to get the doctors to pimp their products. a kindhearted physician will often use them to help a girl out.

4. hit the big box. both walmart and target pharmacies have big lists of prescription drugs that you can get starting at $4 a month, or $10 for 90 days. it doesn’t cover everything- but they both have a solid range, and the prices can’t be beat.

5. pay a visit to the planned parenthood. if you want birth control and you have no money, a visit to the planned parenthood is always in order. their services are generally on a sliding income scale. also, don’t forget to grab a handful of free condoms on your way out the door (university health centers are also usually good for such things).

6. check out the hospital outpatient clinic. because my doctor’s office is part of the MMC family, my doctor was able to write me a prescription for my meds (everything but the birth control) that i could pick up at the outpatient pharmacy at the hospital. they had a pretty wide selection, and i never paid more than $15 a month for anything.

really, the real moral of this story is always to TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. they want to help you, but they don’t necessarily know about your financial situation unless you tell them. chances are, they have more than a few resources in their lab coat pockets that can help you out. also, don’t forget to cash in on those $25 gift cards that cvs & rite aid are always offering to bring in your new or transferred prescription.

you may have also heard about saving money by getting drugs from canada, or signing up for prescription discount cards– but when i looked into both programs, i wasn’t able to find any significant savings (only lots of hassle and additional monthly fees!). not worth it!

these 6 are the best ways that i’ve found, but i’d love to broaden the list if anyone out there knows any tricks that i missed!