Monday, February 16, 2009

Hooray for me!

It's my birthday today! Hooray for being 25! I've got to go get ready to go across town to get cupcakes to celebrate. Yum!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An Open Letter to the President, Senators Dick Durbin & Roland Burris & Anyone Else Who Will Listen

Dear President Obama & Senators Durbin & Burris,

I am writing you this open letter today to discuss the current healthcare situation in our country. Until now, I had employer provided benefits that, while not stellar in my eyes, were very good. Recently, I lost my job and chose to find an independent insurance plan rather than pay the $800 a month for COBRA benefits. I figured an independent insurance plan through my same provider (Aetna) would be less expensive than COBRA and would offer comperable coverage. Little did I know...

After being accepted by Aetna to one of their Managed Choice Open Access plans I thought things were fine. And they were, at least until I received my credit card statement with the first month's premium charged to it. The premium Aetna charged my card was a 90% increase from the amount I was quoted. 90%!!!!! Naturally, I was shocked so I called Aetna and was told by a member of their underwriting staff that because I had had surgery to correct a deviated septum 2 years ago, they consider me has having chronic sinusitis which is a pre-existing condition and basically means they can charge me whatever monthly premium they want. I am in the process of filing an appeal on this outlandish claim because since the surgery I have not had a single case of sinusitis and not a single sinus infection. The surgery worked to fix the problems and as any reasonable person would expect, once the problems were fixed they are no longer problems. I should have known that this did not bode well for the Aetna Managed Choice Open Access plan.

As luck would have it, I ended up needing to go to the doctor this week for an ear infection & cough. After finding a physician in Hyde Park who would take the insurance and who could get me in this week, I was hopeful that things were looking up. Not so. I saw the doctor this afternoon and he prescribed 2 medicines to help me get better, Levaquin - a common antibiotic and one that is highly favored by Otolaryntologists, and Asthmanex - a steroid inhaler to help clear up the cough and congestion in my chest. My husband and I really liked the physician and talked about making him our primary care provider in the area as we walked to the local CVS to fill the prescriptions. That's when things took a definite turn for the worse. When it was finally my turn to pick up my newly filled prescription I was given a rude awakening. The Aetna Managed Choice Open Access plan does not cover brand name prescriptions until a $500 deductible has been met and since both drugs were brand name (and not available as generics) I would have to pay nearly $275 for my much needed medicines. I was completely caught off guard as I did not see ANYTHING in my Aetna application that stated that there was a separate $500 prescription deductible. Had I seen that there is no way I would have applied for the plan. I immediately came home and calleld Aetna and the agent I spoke to confirmed the $500 deductible for all non-generic prescriptions. With me jobless and my husband in graduate school, paying essentially an entire month worth of grocery money for 10 days of drugs was not an acceptable option.

I called the Dr.'s office and asked if there was anything they could do to help. My doctor's nurse was able to change the antibiotic prescription to one that was generic. She had some samples on hand of the inhaler that she gave us for free because it's not available generic. I really have no other way to thank her than with my words, so to Diane in Hyde Park my most heartfelt thanks go out to you. I am so appreciative of your compassion and committment to caring for your patients. I will never forget this thing you have done for me. Thank you.

President Obama, Senators Durbin & Burris, and any and all who are reading this: Insurance and drug companies in America are no more than institutionalized highway robbers. To charge people who need medicines hundreds of dollars for essentially 10 days worth of drugs is absurdity and we need to change this now. Insurance companies should not be able to make up pre-existing conditions just because they feel like it. Insurance companies should not be able to "bait and switch" applicants and charge hugely increased premiums after advertising different amounts. Insurance and drug companies should not be able to hold patients hostage to paying extortianate fees for necessary prescription drugs. We need change in our healthcare system and we need it now.

I cannot believe there are millions of Americans who put up with this kind of treatment from insurance companies and prescription drug-makers every single day. It chills me to the bone to think that there are elderly people and children in our country who are unable to afford their medicines because of these exhorbitant fees levied upon them. The American dream promises all who live here the freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and I think there are many who find it very difficult to adequately pursue that little thing called "life" when often times medicines and Dr. visits are tossed to the wayside because food and shelter are more pressing concerns. When prescription medicines cost the same as a month's worth of groceries it is time for a change.

President Obama, Senators Durbin & Burris - Please fix our healthcare system. Please make it work and make it affordable for the millions of us who have lost our jobs and our quality insurance. Please make it affordable for students and blue collar working families with children to support and many mouths to feed. Please let it help the elderly in need of care. Please make this a top priority in your administration because if those of us who are forced to pay these mountainous fees cannot afford it for much longer. Please help us.


Friday, February 6, 2009


I hate being sick more than pretty much anything in the world. So of course, Wednesday night I started feeling crappy and congested and now I've got some awesome chest congestion, sinus "issues" (I'll spare the details), and a wicked cough. Sweet.

If anyone needs me I'll be in bed bundled up in blankets (yay fever!) and coughing my lungs up.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spitting Nails

Dear University of Chicago Real Estate Ops/Our Maintenance guy,

WTF is up with listing an "emergency" phone number if no one answers that line and there's no option to leave a message? I am seriously irritated at your lack of well, functionality in the case of an emergency. Get with the program people.



So here's what happened:

At around 9:30 tonight our internet went out. So I got on the phone with The Devil (Comcast) but while I was on hold I noticed that none of the lights on our modem or wireless router were lit. So I unplugged them and tried to plug something else into the outlet: no dice so at that point I knew the problem was with the outlet. That meant that I avoided having to speak to The Devil for now, as we were able to plug our modem & router into another functioning outlet via extension cord.

Fast forward about 10 minutes when I went into the kitchen to start putting away the leftovers from our ridiculously late dinner (damn you Betty Crocker! That's the LAST time I listen to your cracked out cooking times!). I bagged up all the roasted potatoes and opened the fridge door to throw them in, but the fridge light wasn't on. Then I noticed that the microwave was off. And that the oven clock had gone out as well. After re-setting the outlets (via the little re-set button thingy) I hoped the problem was fixed. Nope, no such luck. About 2 minutes later they all were off again. We called our maintenance guy several times and got no response but left a couple of messages. Next, we called the "Emergency Hotline" thinking that well, losing $300 worth of groceries we just purchased YESTERDAY was kind of an emergency. Nope, not even a voicemail there. It just rang, and rang, and rang. Awesome. Luckily we have a couple of awesome friends who let us stash our super perishables (meat, cheese) in their freezers and I ran to the grocery store to buy 30 lbs of ice to pack into ziplock bags and toss in the freezer and fridge with our frozen (& refrigerated) veggies. We'll see how long the ice lasts. Our apartment is usually about 10 degrees warmer at night than it is during the day so I'm not sure how much time we've got before we have to cook everything (which would seriously take hours...we bought A LOT of stuff at Costco yesterday).


*Update* At about 7:30 this morning the maintenance guy came over and discovered that the problem was with the main outlet in our kitchen (the outlet with the re-set button/breaker thing). He replaced it in it seems to be working just fine now. I checked the freezer at around 11:45 and all our bags of ice were still frozen and it seemed pretty cold so I think the bags of ice last night worked all right and it's rapidly cooling down. I don't think we'll lose any of the food in it, but I am very glad that we took all of the meat over to a friends to make sure it stayed frozen overnight.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bowie's in Space...

Dear Bret & Jemaine,

Thank you for forming what I consider to be one of the premier bands of our time, Flight of the Conchords. Thank you for doing such an impeccable job of parodying virtually all of David Bowie's music videos in your epic song "Bowie's in Space." After watching Bowie videos, Bowie's cameo in Zoolander, and the always classic Labyrinth this weekend I was even more impressed with your mad skillz. I can't WAIT to see you two sex bombs in April. It's going to be awesome.

Love & Kisses,