It’s Open Season – er, um – Open Enrollment Time (How to Choose the Right Health Plan for You)

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It strikes me as no coincidence that Fall is both Open Enrollment time for choosing a healthcare insurance plan, and Open Season for hunters.

In both cases, it’s about stalking prey. Right?

So now that I’ve put that vision in your head, it’s time to get a bit more practical. No matter how we feel about having to go through the paces of choosing the right health insurance plan, no matter that we would far prefer to have a tooth pulled or ...

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The Folly of Driving to the ER

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Hugh, a gentleman of about 68 years, lived alone. Hugh wasn’t feeling well. It was just a general feeling that something – who knows what? – just wasn’t right.

After a short while, Hugh walked over to see Phil, his next door neighbor. Phil agreed to drive Hugh to the Emergency Room.

It took them about 30 minutes to get there. Hugh signed in, and together he and Phil sat down in the waiting room. Within 15 minutes, Hugh keeled over, out ...

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Your Pharmacist – Bound and Gagged

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During the past 10 years or more, the costs of prescription drugs seem to have taken on an enlarging life of their own.  Gone are the days of no co-pay. Today even co-pays seem outrageous, yet pharmaceutical drug companies keep raising their prices and we, the patients, are responsible for their bazillion dollar paychecks, whether or not we can afford the drugs we need.

I’ll confess that I have a totally unbalanced sense of awe and loathing for Big Pharma (the ...

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A HUGE Step Forward for Patients: BCPA

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When you run into problems with the legal system, who do you call?  A lawyer, of course.

When you run into problems with your taxes, who do you call?  An accountant, of course.

If you have trouble with your hair, you call a hairdresser. If the wires or pipes in your house give out, you call a plumber or electrician….

Each of these service careers is represented by skilled professionals who have earned credentials through national certification programs. When you go in search ...

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Did You Get Something That Looks Like a Medicare Card in the Mail?

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The envelope says its from Medicare. The card inside looks very official. It’s got your name on it, and a bunch of numbers and letters that don’t look at all familiar.

But – can you trust it? Is this new Medicare card for real?  Can you use it with your doctor and other medical needs?

Why on earth, after all these years, would they just send you a new Medicare card for no apparent reason?

The answers are yes, yes, yes…. and for ...

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Black Box Warnings May Save Your Life

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This often comes as a major surprise for patients: that when a prescription drug is known to be effective, and is approved by the FDA for some patients, that doesn’t mean it’s effective and safe for all patients.

It’s true that some people may be allergic, or the drug might have been prescribed to treat the wrong diagnosis, or the patient may not take the drug properly and over (or under) dose….

…But those situations are not what I’m addressing in this ...

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No Diagnosis? It May Not Matter

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Years ago I watched a movie called Serendipity.  It starred Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. It was a “romcom” – and adorable – and it occurs to me that it sets the stage for today’s post.

The story was about two young people who met in Bloomingdales while shopping, and through a series of events, they were attracted to each other, but never exchanged names. They then lost track of each other. Over the years they continued to ...

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5 Little Words Save Money on Healthcare

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‘Tis the season of making health insurance choices, and the nexus of money and healthcare is on our minds. We’re focused on making sure we find a policy that covers us, but doesn’t over-cover us so we pay too much. It’s about those things that can be planned (the drugs we take, the regular medical appointments we keep). Plus an extra accounting for those things we may not plan for, but may have to deal with, like accidents, or grave ...

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OK, But What’s the Question?

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In my previous life as a speaker and writer on patient empowerment issues, I received email, even postal mail (meaning, yes, someone paid for a stamp!) from patients who were being challenged in some way by the healthcare system. Sometimes I would hear from 8 or 10 people in a week, 25, 30 or more a month.

Their stories were often sickening and terrifying. At the least they were frustrating to read (even more so to live through, I’m sure) and ...

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What Happens When You Go Home from the Hospital?

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Maybe you had surgery, or some sort of exploratory procedure. You might have been battling an infection, or maybe you were just there while they ran an assortment of tests. There are many reasons you might have been hospitalized.

And now it’s time to go home from the hospital.

Now what?

The thing is – during your stay in the hospital, there were people around to take care of you. Your nurses stopped by a few times each day, and would even arrive ...

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