Shifting Coverage

I have diabetes.  If you do too, don’t be secretive about it.  You should let people around you know, so if you experience side effects such as passing out or becoming less than lucid, they’ll have some idea what’s going on.

As with many people who have diabetes, I take a lot of medicine for it and the medicine is expensive.  I’m fortunate to have excellent prescription drug insurance, although the company that manages that coverage for my supplemental drug plan leaves a lot to be desired.

Lately, they’ve been changing the formulary for what drugs they cover.  Sometimes there are good reasons for that.  Sometimes. Less so.  As an example, if your doctor wrote you a subscription for Synthroid, a medicine to help with thyroid problems, and allowed the pharmacy to fill it with a generic, you still got Synthroid, which is a brand name.  Why?  Because Synthroid was judged to be more effective than any of the generics available.  That’s changed this year.  Now, if a generic is allowed, I get a generic.  So, I hope the generics are improved.  I guess we’ll see with my next blood test.

The latest issue is with another brand-name drug, Invokana.  Although my insurance has been paying for it over the last six years or more, and paid for it in February, they’ve decided they won’t anymore.  They will pay for Jardiance or Farxiga.  Nobody told me if it’s because those newer drugs are more effective in lowering blood sugar, because they’re less expensive, or both.  It’s not because the replacements are generic.  Both are brand names as well.  And make no mistake, Invokana is expensive—somewhere between $500 and $600 a month for the dosage I take if I buy it at retail.  I’m pretty sure the insurance gets a discount though.

I’m all for reducing cost.  I try to do it in my personal life, and I used to be a municipal auditor and a municipal treasurer, so I did it in my work life too.  The problem is, Invokana is superior to Jardiance or Farxiga in at least one respect.  I’m neither a doctor nor a pharmacist, but from what I’ve read, Invokana has benefits for the kidney disease that often results from diabetes while the alternatives do not.

So, not I am jumping through hoops to get my doctor to get a prior authorization and get my prescription filled before I run out of pills at the end of next week.  And because of the COVID 19 pandemic, it’s harder to find hoops or to find someone to hold the hoops so I can jump through them.  I hope this is all resolved within the next two weeks, before I run out of Invokana and/or patience.

Things I Know

With everyone having trouble arranging grocery deliveries from services like Amazon Prime, Instacart, Peapod, etc., I’m reminded that in the 50’s and 60’s, local merchants would deliver almost everything to your house, usually for free.  Drug stores, liquor stores, beer and soda, butchers, bakers, the milk man.  There were door-to-door salesmen too who sold freezers and food plans that delivered frozen meat and vegetables on schedule.

Captain Tom Moore is a 99-year-old British man and he’s pretty damned impressive.  He’ll be 100 on April 30th, and talking to his family, he decided to walk around his garden 100 times before his birthday to raise 1,000 pounds for the British National Health Service which is over-burdened with the COVID onslaught.  If that doesn’t sound like much effort, he is 99 and his daughter said on LBC radio in London the other day that he needs sticks or a walker to remain mobile.  She also said he’d probably hit the walking goal today.  Did he raise his 1,000 pounds?  I’ll say.  His effort struck a chord on the internet.  His virus fight went viral.  So far, he’s raised over 15-million pounds!  He says he’ll keep walking as long as people keep giving.  I’d say good for Tom Moore, but he’s British, so I’ll said good on Tom Moore instead.

President Obama has endorsed his vice president, Joe Biden, for President.  That’s not news.  It would be news if Obama refused to endorse Biden.

I’m surprised that a month or more into this thing we still haven’t solved the supply problem.  It’s still almost impossible to acquire disinfectant wipes or toilet paper.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is certainly giving informative briefings on COVID 19.  Straight forward and lots of data to back up what he says.  Talking about communication skills only, Cuomo’s briefings are superior to those of President Trump.  Still, New York State has more cases than any country in the world except the USA, and the USA has the most cases of any country in the world, about a quarter of all the cases reported.  So, I wonder whether either of them is being particularly effective in battling COVID 19.

Lots of companies are selling products online these days.  One that kind of surprised me is Scotts lawn care products.  I paid for the fertilizer I got from them.  They didn’t pay me or grant me free products.  Have you looked at their website?  It’s really neat.  I knew the lawn area of my property was less than 5,000 square feet.  Scotts website brings up a Google maps picture of where I live and allows me to easily approximate the size of my lawn.  It said 3,802 square feet.  I don’t think that’s exact, but it’s close enough and it’s impressive.

Things I Know

With the quarantine, I’m guessing there’ll be lots of room for Elijah at most if not all Passover seders tonight.  Gut yontif to my friends and reader who celebrate.

Easter is this weekend, and if Pope Francis blesses the crowd at St. Peter’s Square, there won’t be one.

The Pope is 83.  He’s also non-traditional.  After all, he had midnignt mass on Christmas at 9:00 PM.  So if he gets up in the middle of the night to take a leak, will Easter sunrise services be held at 3:00 AM?

There are plenty of people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter.  The Catholic church and any Protestant denominations that use a collection plate, should start Go Fund Me pages so they will recoup at least some of the revenue they’ll be missing at the Easter collection.

I’m not trying to minimize COVID 19.  It’s awful and everyone in my household is in a vulnerable category.  But keep this in mind.  There aren’t a lot of tests out there, so there are a lot of people who have it or had it but survived and aren’t included in the statistics.  This means there are more people affected than being reported.  I thought this meant the death rate was lower than reported, but I have recently heard that deaths are being under-reported and mis-categorized as well.  So, who knows?

 You may have noticed that “coronavirus” is one word.  I tried googling why, but even the all-knowing Google didn’t have an answer.

Solved my problem about the lawn-mower gas cap.  I found the original.  When it fell off the mower, it fell under the engine on the deck that houses the blade.  If you’re wondering why I didn’t find it sooner, I got down on the ground to try to find a model number and serial number for the engine and the cap was hidden there.  I didn’t do that earlier, because my knees make getting back up problematic.

My daughter has managed to arrange grocery deliveries from Amazon Fresh and from Shipt.com.  Over and above the delivery charge, I think it’s going to cost you more than shopping multiple grocery stores from their circulars, but in this time of COVID 19, having these services does cut your exposure.  Well worth it, I think.  Amazon is better at being on time than Shipt is where I live, but both are very helpful.  I also tried Peapod.  It might be different elsewhere, but here, I can’t get a spot, even if I log on just as they add another day which is two weeks out.  As it comes online, all the spots two weeks away are listed as sold out.  One good thing about Peapod is you find a delivery slot first, so you don’t waste time ordering only to find you can’t get the stuff to your house.