Shingles shots synopsis

A nasty disease

shinglesI decided that in 2019, I would get my pair of shingles shots. As this 2018 article suggests: Shingles Is Nasty, And The New Vaccine Works Well.”

Shingrix [an FDA-recommended brand] should be given in two doses between two and six months apart to adults who are at least 50 years old, the [Centers for Disease Control] says.”

I went to my local CVS back in April or May to get my first shot. The pharmacist, though, wouldn’t give me an injection. His supply of Shingrix was low. He was saving it for those who needed a second dose.

Now it’s June, and I’m going to retire at the end of the month. I went to the Rite Aid across the street from my office. After filling out all the insurance paperwork, I get my first shot, which cost me nothing. I’m told I’d get a call in late August when it was time to get a second one. It did not happen.


I trek down to the Rite Aid in October, which is in the midst of converting to a Walgreen’s. O course, now I have to give them all my new information, my Medicare card and all the supplemental insurance. Alas, the pharmacist wasn’t there.

On my return trip in December, they can’t give me a shot because they don’t take any of my insurance. I suppose I could have insisted on getting it at the retail price, which would have been roughly $140.

Instead, the next day, I went back to the CVS. This time, I was able to get an injection, but it cost me $47 and change. Since I’m never going to get this ever again, I just paid it. It was just two weeks shy of the six month threshold.

My recommendation to my friends who are 50 and over is to get your shingles shots sooner than later. I have a friend in her thirties who’s had the condition thrice, and she was quite miserable.

Get the shots while you still have insurance, before you go on Medicare. There may have been a particular supplemental Medicare coverage that would have eliminated my out-of-pocket expense, but obviously that’s not what I picked.

Dealing with health insurance companies

the patient gets impatient

health insurance cardI know you’ve been asking, “Roger, what have you been doing since you’ve retired?” Besides doing some arts stuff and going to Indiana, of course.

Mostly dealing with health insurance companies, and one in particular. When I was working, my family and I had insurance under my name. I received a letter dated June 25 from The Insurance Company (TIC) that my coverage would terminate as of July 1, which I knew to be correct. And finally, on July 1, I received separate cards for my wife and my daughter, who are still covered.

But about July 10, I got a letter from TIC insurance broker saying that the three of us were covered under my old number. I spent 30 minutes on the phone with TIC telling them that was incorrect. They blamed my former employer for the snafu. The benefits person at my old job said it was TIC’s fault. Still, ten days later, I get a letter stating my coverage was canceled. Good.

A week and a half after that, I get a letter from TIC welcoming me – and only me – to their service. This time I just called the work benefits person, who, by that time, feigned that she wasn’t bored hearing from me AGAIN. And two weeks later, I got my third TIC cancellation letter.

In late August, the office of my allergist, who I’d seen earlier in the month, called to say that Medicare, who they correctly billed, believes I’m still covered by TIC! I am to call the Medicare Coordination of Benefits people to straighten this out.

Of course, the Medicare COB phone number was not working. I called the main Medicare number and waited ONLY ten minutes. I explained my tale of woe. They removed my TIC coverage from their health insurance records. My allergist’s office knows to resubmit the claim in another two weeks.

None of this is especially difficult. But I get impatient doing thrice things I thought I needed to do only once.

Life is a pre-existing condition

The bill that the House Republicans passed is the same sadistic bill they tried to pass weeks ago, and if anything more brutal.

Interestingly, I’m not especially worked up over the Republicans passing a bill, purportedly to “fix” health care, but in fact stripping the right away from millions of people in order to fund an enormous tax break for the rich.

Maybe it’s because everyone else is SO ticked. If those elephantine members of Congress took heat from their constituents around the time of the March non-vote, I can only imagine how angry those voters are now, well, except for the districts represented by those 20 Republicans who voted against the bill. The anti-GOP ads are already starting.

And target #1 in this area – not my district, but one adjacent – has to be former state legislator and now freshman Congressman John Faso. Endorsed by the local Hearst paper in 2016, and now blasted in same, I know a number of people who are already working for his defeat in 2018.

Some talking head – Dan Senor on CBS This Morning – recently suggested that November 2018 is a long time from now and that this vote won’t define any candidate. I TOTALLY disagree. It’s like what Nancy Pelosi said, their votes all but branded on their foreheads.

The bill that the House Republicans passed is the same sadistic bill they tried to pass weeks ago, and if anything more brutal — opening the door to discriminating against people with a pre-existing condition.

Before the vote, Jimmy Kimmel, FCOL, talked of how quick hospital-style attention saved the life of his infant son, and made the argument to protect those in situations like his child. Some trolls went after him, but the counter thrust was fierce.

Seth Meyers explained how Speaker Paul Ryan of 2017 TOTALLY contradicts Paul Ryan of 2009.

Oddly, the so-called prosperity gospel explains The American Health Care Act. I’m not sure I want to say Today, I Hope That There’s a Hell, but if there IS one, those grinning faces in the White House garden this past week would be heading there.

Stay angry, my friends. Your wrath comforts me. If YOU weren’t ticked, I’D have to be, and I’m TIRED of being enraged ALL of the time.

On the other hand, if you want help unelecting these SOBs, I’m in.

March rambling #1: Platypus Controlling Me

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

What Is Your Name? Where Are We? Who Is President? Oh God

Trump(Doesn’t)Care cartoon

Poor People Need BETTER Health Insurance than the Rest of Us, Not Worse

The lessons we fail to learn: Warren G. Harding

American ‘Christianity’ Has Failed and I don’t want to preach a faith that can be so easily adapted to self-hatred and self-harm

How the baby boomers destroyed everything

The 1862 Binghamton (NY) Race Riot – something I did not know about my hometown

After Slavery, Searching For Loved Ones In Wanted Ads

Coins of the Rebellion: The Civil War currency of Albany merchants

Jobs, Income, and the Future

A brief history of men getting credit for women’s accomplishments

The Weight of The Last Straw

7 Lies About Welfare That Many People Believe Are Fact

Albany, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses On Landing Attempt, March 1972

Contractor sues for $2 million in unpaid bills on Drumpf’s D.C. hotel

Kellyanne Conway’s interview tricks, explained, and her boss’s 10 steps for turning lies into half-truths

A college course on calling out scientific crap

The adult children of him will ditch Secret Service protection once he leaves office

Sen. Gillibrand Has Perfect Response To Regime Misspelling Her Name

‘Where I come from’ we claim universal generalities as our peculiar virtues

Some ‘snowflakes’ can take the heat

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity, it’s loneliness

About Robert Osborne

Amy Biancolli: woman walks into a sandwich shop

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

You May Want to Marry My Husband

This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life

David Kalish: I am my dog’s seeing-eye person

Coke: Global ad campaign celebrates inclusion and diversity

Alphabetizing Books

Ruben Bolling won the 2017 Herblock Prize

Now I Know: The Boy Who Captured the Wind and How to Claim Antarctica and The Park at the Bottom of the Lake

MEET APRIL THE GIRAFFE, formerly from Catskill Game Farm!

Sammy Davis Jr. Oscar blunder

Cush Jumbo

Lawyer’s Pants Catch Fire During Closing Argument

Garter snakes can be super deadly


Divenire – Composer Ludovico Einaudi

There’s a Platypus Controlling Me (from Phineus and Ferb)

What are the songs that best capture our moment?

K-Chuck Radio: A dose of Northern Soul

Don’t Let Me Down – The Beatles

10 Beatles Covers You Really Need to Hear

Songs about the moon


I HIGHLY recommend that you get a notebook when you go to the hospital with someone – and you SHOULD have someone, if at all possible.

hospital-billThe bill came for the Daughter’s two-day stay at a local hospital:
Over $4,000 for the emergency room
Over $4,000 for the MRI brain scan
Over $12,000 for the MRI spine scan (which they probably didn’t finish when she balked after an HOUR)
Over $4,000 for various labs
Over $4,500 in “accommodation fees”
Plus drugs and physical therapy

The hospital actually got $4,889 from my insurance company, with over $25,000 eliminated by the “Insurance Contractual Adjustment.”

That made the total due from us $100.

THAT is why I LOATHE it when I’m without insurance.

One can argue whether it was all necessary, to eliminate what she might have had, but evidently did not. Had she suffered from Guillain-Barré syndrome, rather than the viral infection she likely had, it would have been terrible.

One more thing on this topic: the Wife and I were at the hospital all the time, but not always at the same time. I HIGHLY recommend that you get a notebook when you go to the hospital with someone – and you SHOULD have someone, if at all possible. You are likely going to see so many different people, it’ll be difficult to keep track of what each one said.

I’m always coming across people – writers, artists, musicians especially – who have no insurance. It’s usually in the context of someone who has had some illness or injury, and is now facing some catastrophic bills. This is why I’ve supported the single-payer insurance plan that never got off the ground in the bulk of the US; Obamacare is definitely a half a loaf, but, I’m hoping, better than nothing for those people going forward.

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