SDXB—after having delivered another long tirade about the evils of health care reform and how we’re all going to pay lots more for lots less, watch our inviolable American liberties slide away, and ride to Hell on a socialist handcart—recommended that I drop by a CVS pharmacy or a Fry’s grocery store to get a flu shot, since The Great Desert University has quit offering employees free flu vaccine.
So, after checking where the flu clinics were scheduled for that day, I dropped by the CVS around the corner.
The “nurse” who was dispensing the shots had gone to lunch, but her sidekick was there, reading a copy of People magazine. I presented my health insurance card, by way of finding out how much I would have to pay for an immunization. She looked at the card and said she’d never heard of it. Then she plowed through a 50- or 60-page guide, searching several 8 1/2- x 11-inch fine-print pages for some clue. She did find that some Beech Street plans cover the Mollen Clinic’s flu and pneumonia shots, but she couldn’t tell whether the State of Arizona’s plan is among them.
So I asked her if the Cigna plan I’m being switched to next month would cover it. With only a week to go, it would probably be worth waiting to save the thirty bucks charged to members of the unwashed public who have no insurance. She repeated her time-consuming, eye-straining search. Again, she couldn’t tell: some Cigna plans were covered, but…now… Get this! Cigna customers were to provide a credit card number, which would be sent to the insurer. Cigna would then decide if and how much they would cover, charging the balance to the card.
I said I didn’t think I’d like to give out my credit card number and carte blanche to charge an unknown amount to it. She agreed that would not be the best of all possible ideas.
Moving on… I decided not to waste any more time waiting for the “nurse” to come back, since another site, a Fry’s grocery store, was on my way to the various errands I had to run.
There I again presented the Beech Street/RANAMN card. Again the customer service assistant had never heard of RAN-AMN. So, not wanting to drive 15 miles out of my way, pay for parking, and hike around trying to find the clinics for downtown state employees, I paid the $30 to get the damn shot. Before getting to that point, though, I had to fill out two legal-sized pages of forms detailing personal information that’s no one’s business.
It was, in short, an expensive hassle. At least it was better than the $86 my doctor “friend” tried to charge me for a flu shot last fall.
On my way out, I mentioned that next year I’ll be on Medicare and asked whether Medigap insurance would cover the shots.
“Oh, no,” she said. “Medicare Part B covers flu shots. They’re free. And you don’t have to fill out the form then—all you have to do is sign this line” (indicates a blank on the two-page form) “and you’re done!”
ohhh brother… that soooooocialist health care system
sure is gunna make our lives rough, eh?