Friday, August 21, 2009


I take this drug to help me with allergies and sinus congestion. I’ve been taking it since 2006 and it costs me $25 per month, although the retail is $138. This is one of five different prescriptions I take to help me with sinus and respiratory problems, a retail total of nearly $1000 per month for which I have a co-pay of $25 each. This week, the day after writing the blog post below, I tried to fill my prescription for Allegra-D. The pharmacy clerk told me that my cost would be $67. I objected. “No” I said, “my co-pay is $25.” The clerk politely told me that this is the price my insurance company gave this time, and so I would need to take it up with my insurance company. I left in a huff (poor sales clerk). The next day I called my insurance company. After five futile minutes of attempting to persuade them that THEY had made a mistake and needed to call my pharmacy to rectify the problem, I learned that this drug was now in a new category. It used to be a formulary drug, covered in full by my insurance, and now, all of a sudden, is considered non-formulary, not covered in full – for any of a number of reasons – none of which mattered one bit to me. I complained to the insurance rep about my coverage. I complained about the money-hungry pharmaceutical companies. I told him (like it mattered) about how many different prescriptions I take and how I simply couldn’t afford to pay $67 for Allegra-D, even though within two fillings we will have met our annual out-of-pocket maximum and then will then pay NOTHING for any prescription for the rest of 2009.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When help isn't helpful

Last week a friend from blogsphere asked about Swaziland in an IM conversation. He said “what did you learn?” I told him that I’d learned tons and that I was going to blog about my learnings. I realize as I begin to do so that it will take more than one post to describe it all, mostly because it is still unfolding. I’ll start today with this one: SOMETIMES HELP ISN’T HELPFUL.

Before going on this last trip, during and since coming home, whenever my thoughts turn to Swaziland (which is very often), I have found myself in the middle of a tension. The tension looks something like this:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trip memories

Kids share a bowl of pup and waiting for a taxi

An adventure without power and our team with graduate caregivers

Melissa with Letaro and the team at The Luke Commission

The team at the game drive and Swazi kids who love Americans