Obamacare Update

I promised several people to continue to share my family’s experiences with being insured at long last via the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare.  We are coming up on two months of being insured and so far it is an unqualified success.
There was a little sticker shock for us regarding some of the medications we’ve had to purchase, as we have to pay full price until we reach the deductible, and while some of the negotiated prices were better than what we’d been getting with the various discount cards we’d been using, a couple have been quite a bit more.  However, thanks to that, John has now met his $300 deductible and I told him to start making appointments for every kind of doctor he’s ever wanted to see!
Emily, typically, has not used the plan yet, since she has literally not had to visit a doctor for illness since she was two years old.  But I’m encouraging her to get a check up at least.  Jake has visited two doctors and purchased prescriptions.  Here’s a perk:  even though his deductible has not been met, because we HAVE insurance, the doctors file it and then send a bill–they don’t expect us to pay up front.  Maybe that’s not news to the rest of you, but it was a happy surprise to us!  Another happy surprise was seeing our first Explanation of Benefits statement and discovering that because of negotiated rates we will pay less for doctor visits even before we meet our deductible!
As for me, I have now been to the doctor twice and haven’t had to shell out one dime as yet.  The first task was finding a practice, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with where I’ve ended up.  We have a Blue Cross plan, and of course it’s super easy to look for doctors online.  I’m used to looking for TennCare doctors and not finding any, so I was overwhelmed by the choices that were available!  I ended up with Trinity Medical Associates, which is a Christian practice, about five minutes from my house, that focuses on wellness.   I love my doctor, I love her nurse, in fact everybody there is super friendly and helpful.  John, Emily, and Jake are all going to start going there.
My plan covers one free check up and one free gynecological check up per year–no charge.  This practice can do both of those, so I will not pay anything for either of the two visits I’ve had so far.  I went two weeks ago, did the gyno thing, got my tetanus booster, and had blood drawn.  I went back today to go over the results of the bloodwork and to have an EKG.
I’m fat and I haven’t had a check up in six (I think) years.  I was really scared there might be something wrong with my heart, or that I might have to take medicines.  Besides the cost, I’ve avoided having these things checked out for fear of being saddled with a pre-existing condition that would have made me uninsurable too.  But I don’t have to worry about that anymore.  Nobody does.  Because that’s one of the things Obamacare has accomplished.
My doctor recommended a mild diuretic for the swelling in my leg (caused by an unfortunate encounter with my own car ten years ago).  She wants me to take a Vitamin D supplement and a Fish Oil capsule.  My sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol need watching, but she prefers we try diet and exercise changes first.  To that end, I’ve got a nutritional counseling appointment (covered by insurance) and an exercise counseling appointment (not covered, but only $20).  I’m to go back to the doctor in three months to check my numbers again.
After so many years without insurance, I’m almost giddy about this, y’all.  I highly recommend that you take a look at healthcare.gov and see if Obamacare can help you too.  You’ve only got until the end of this month before open enrollment is.  It wouldn’t hurt you just to take a look, would it?

I Want a New Drug

Junk food is as addictive as cocaine.
That’s a pretty provocative statement, and it comes straight from the press kit for Diet Rehab, a book by Dr. Mike Dow, the cohost of Freaky Eaters, which would probably impress me if I watched t.v.  I don’t know yet whether I believe it or not, but I am getting ready to find out.
That’s my copy of the book, which I now disclose to you that I received for FREE in return for reviewing it.   I have not read it yet.  But I’m going to have a little fun with this.  If it makes any sense at all, I am going to do what it says and share the results with you.
I know one thing I like already:  that blurb at the top stating that “You’re addicted to bad food and it’s not your fault.”  For someone who has spent most of a lifetime feeling guilty about every morsel consumed, that’s a refreshing message.  More on that later.
So the plan is that I will read the book this week, then start following the “28 days of gradual detox” the following week.  Once a week–let’s say on Mondays–I’ll share with you how it’s going. (This will definitely not involve any scales.  A tape measure MAY be used.  We shall see.)  At the end of the four weeks I will pronounce judgment on the book.  I’ll explain the theory and the procedure as we go.  If anyone wants to join in, let me know and I will send you instructions!

Value Vision

This is a SPONSORED post.  What does that mean, exactly?  It means that I received–for FREE–the item that I am writing about in exchange for posting a review of it here.  The good news is that I was going to write a post on this topic anyway, so it’s not going to sound fake like some reviews I have read.  Also, you know I wouldn’t lie to you, even to get freebies.
A couple of years ago I started to notice something strange–if I needed to read the dosing information on a medicine bottle, I had to hold it farther out from my face to bring it into focus.  Sometimes by the time I got it into focus, it was too far away to read!  At church, too, I started holding my hymnal out at arm’s length.  Now, I had an inkling of where this was heading, but I wanted to ignore it.  It wasn’t that big of a problem anyway.
But then I started having more and more trouble driving at night.  I can’t really explain what the problem was–I just couldn’t SEE.  If I was somewhere unfamiliar I had difficulty finding driveways and making turns.  My vision problem was becoming a safety issue.
Why did I put off getting glasses for so long?  It’s stupid, really, to have always been so proud of my 20-20 vision.  It’s not like I earned it.  But to me, more than anything else that age has done to my physical self, glasses seemed like a tangible admission that I am no longer as young as I once was.  I can color my hair, I could lose weight if I really wanted to, but I can’t correct my vision.  (Yes, I know about Lasik.  No, I am never letting anyone near my eyeballs with a laser.)
For a while I was extremely depressed about all this.  What with everything that’s happened since, it seems silly now.  But at the time it seemed like a terrible milestone.
The eye examination itself wasn’t so bad.  I hadn’t seen an eye doctor in 20 years–my husband made me go when we were first married–so I was pretty amazed by the technology.  Last time I had my eyes examined, I was looking at 3D pictures of flies.   So that part was fun.  And our eye doctor has an iguana in his office, so that was pretty cool.
Two parts of the trip to the office pretty much sucked, though.  The first was trying on the glasses.  Having never worn any before, I did  not even know where to begin.  And because I have a fat and doughy sort of face with no bones to speak of, none of the glasses looked good on me.  The only ones that did are enormous 80s style glasses and I guess I will just have to wait for them to come back in.
The other part was the price. Oh my goodness.  My husband and I both had exams and got glasses.  I was having an eye allergy too so I had to get two kinds of exams.  And we had a balance of $60 when we got there.  But our total bill was almost $1,000.  Believe me, it was just a fluke that we happened to have that kind of money that day.  But we did, so we took care of it.  My husband has worn glasses for about 30 years, so his are essential, and as I said, for me it was becoming a safety issue.
Here I am the first day with my new glasses.  Don’t I look happy?  Lorelei told me they were hysterical.

Not knowing what I was doing, I let them give me bifocals.  I SHOULD have gotten one pair for the driving problem and one for the reading problem.  The optician told me to wear them all day for awhile to get used to them, and then I could just pull them out when I need them.  I couldn’t stand that.  I felt too tall when I wore them (don’t know how else to explain it).  I was dizzy and whenever I looked down I felt like I was going to fall because I could not judge my steps correctly.  I ended up leaving them in the car (where they do help immensely for night driving) and continuing to hold things at arms length to read them.
The reading problem has been getting worse.  Some of my books had print so small that I could only read them in bright light.  I wished I had the reading glasses but I could not afford another pair.
Enter 1800specs.com.
“1800specs aims to make stylish prescription eyewear affordable for everyone. The average pair of glasses in the US sells for $150–and that’s including the Cosco’s and Walmarts of the world–and of course many of us pay several times that. It’s outrageous, there’s no reason glasses can’t be made available for as little as $20 a pair. It’s a necessity, a question of health and often the ability to support yourself. It’s just wrong to make people overpay like that.
What is 1800specs.com?  It is a website where you can order your glasses yourself, way cheaper than you can get them from the optician at your eye doctor’s office.  I’m not kidding; the cheapest pair is $20 and they are not ugly–they are the SAME ones from the optician, just at a better price.
Did you know that your prescription is your property?  It never would have occurred to me that I could take it somewhere else; I think most of us are conditioned to take it to our doctor’s onsite optician or to whichever one he works with.  I had no trouble at all getting mine, but some other people who were trying this service had to fight with their doctor’s office to get it.  That’s not right, and it’s not fair.
Once I had the prescription, I looked at it in confusion.  It made no sense to me.  I wondered how I was supposed to convey this information to the people at the website.  Would I have to scan it and fax it?  I needn’t have worried.  The site is so easy and completely self-explanatory. It asks you if you have your prescription and then little boxes just pop up for you to fill in the numbers.  After that, the screen pops up with the frames that will work with your prescription.
Perhaps you might expect a few basic choices?  You would be wrong.  There were probably hundreds of choices.  I was overwhelmed by them all, because I am such a novice at this that I have absolutely no idea what is in style or what looks good on me.  They have a solution for this–a Favorites feature so that you can save and compare your top choices until you make a decision.
The ordering process itself was as easy as it should be on any website these days.  I ordered my glasses on October 17, and they arrived today.  Had I been paying, my cost would have been $50 plus $6.95 for shipping and handling.  Not bad, huh?  I can only get one free pair but I am so pleased that I will probably order a $20 pair with the other half of my prescription so I won’t have to deal with those bifocals anymore.
Now some of you might be wondering about the fit of your glasses.  Mine fit fine, but I am told that any optician will make minor adjustments to your glasses for free if fit is a problem.  And did I mention that 1800specs has a 365 day return policy if you are unsatisfied in any way?
I am so excited to have my reading glasses, and I am thrilled to be able to share this great money-saving service with my readers who wear glasses.  Please share this post with anyone who you think would benefit from it, and tell me in the comments if you are going to give 1800specs a try!

My Glasses