By Judy Reiss
Do you remember when a few months ago, I wrote about being scammed? Well, I did and the reason I wrote about it was because I thought if I could fall for such a stupid thing, I wanted to be sure that everybody within the sound of my voice would be warned. Hopefully, it saved someone from being as stupid as I was!
This isn’t quite the same, but if hearing about my ridiculous adventure will save you from the same stupid problems, I’ll be happy. I received a phone call from the pharmacy I receive my prescriptions from (one that I like, have used for about 15 years, and one that sends me my medications whenever they are due). Well, they told me that since I was on Medicaid they could no longer send me my medications due to a new Vermont law. “I’m not on Medicaid,” I said. “Yes you are,” they responded. And this went on for longer than you want to know. And so began the longest day of my life. I swear to you I was on the phone from 10:00-4:10 in the afternoon.
It started with my having a blistering conversation with the woman representing Wellcare. Of course, because I am so ignorant I didn’t know who or what Wellcare was and I didn’t know when we got it. And neither did the non-English-speaking representative on the phone. And I kid you not, she had a parrot shrieking in the background when we spoke. It ended up by me canceling whatever program it was that we had. She told me I would be sorry because now I wouldn’t get the help that they gave me. I didn’t care (and don’t care). And then I began to worry that this might not solve my problem. But first, I called AARP, where we had our supplemental program to Medicare and I signed up for their supplemental plan to their supplemental program! But still, was this going to figure out what and why I was on Medicaid? Probably not.
So now I called my doctor’s office and of course, they had no idea why I was on that program or how I got on it. But they did suggest that I call the Vermont Council on Aging and see if they could help me. Keep in mind, now I am like Rumplestiltskin ready to burn right into the ground. I must have talked to, at least, four or five people and no one had any idea what or why this had happened. My ear was so hot and so red that I was really afraid that it was going to drop off! And then I finally called the Vermont Agency of Human Services and talked to a very kind and knowledgeable woman named Therese who actually tried to help me.
It turns out that Malcolm had signed me up for Vfarm because he thought it was just a program to help senior citizens who have a special need, which translates into lots of expensive medicines. Not only that, he has been paying $50 a month for this program and this, folks, is what put me on Medicaid! And it only took me from 10-4 to find that out!
A few calls later I finally decided that by canceling my Vfarm I would save $600 a year, I would also be off Medicaid and be able to continue to get my medications sent to me. I want you to know that if I was able to drive like I used to or walk without a cane or a walker with little or no pain, I would and be happy to do so. But I can’t, so having my meds delivered is very important to me. But what gets my panties in a twist, is that it took me so long and such aggravation to figure out what was going on. Unfortunately, I think of myself as still young and I am always surprised when I realize that I am not only old but that old age has not treated me well! And I know that there are lots of seniors out there, like me, who just need a little help to figure out what is what. And I am sharing this with you because I don’t want any of you to have to spend hours on the phone, getting nowhere, and speaking to someone with a parrot on their shoulder! And don’t misunderstand me, I love parrots, had one for years and would love another one. But I want it to be my choice!