Monday, October 11, 2010


Some pictures of Karma in the Sunday morning sun...
...playing with a cat toy I tossed her way...
...rolling about...
...beating it up...
...and killing it...
...with vicious cat bites (she has no claws)...
...over and...
...over again...
...until she was exhausted.
Proof that she actually plays with something besides the bug in a jar or a toy on a string (where I do most of the work, BTW)--hehe!
Still on crazy hours, but sleeping a little more regularly. Been going to sleep between 2-5pm and waking up between 10-11pm. Hoping that I'll work my way around the clock this coming week.
Since I've had fibro, even when I do get what I consider "good" sleep I am awake usually every 1-3 hours. I have to get up and stretch and walk around a little because I get so stiff and sore. (The pain is what usually wakes me up.) Each time I wake up I don't know if I will be able to get back to sleep. On rare occasions I have slept 4-5 hours without waking up, but that is usually when I haven't gotten any sleep or little sleep for days. I am not used to sleeping any length of time anymore and actually feel a little disoriented when I wake up after more than four hours. Not used to the time slipping away without my participation, I guess--hehe!
Anyways, that's just my normal life stuff. I'm not complaining. Just explaining. ;)
I'm tired all the time in the first place, so when I can only get 1-4 hours total a day or can't sleep for over 20 hours--I become pretty useless. It's a cycle that continually repeats itself in an irregular pattern--called fibro flares. They can last for days, weeks, or even months. Many people with really bad fibro will spend days in bed. So far, I have always managed to drag myself out of bed, even if I am in my nightgown all day--hehe! I lose myself in TV, movies, and books to get my mind off the pain. Works for me. :)
Speaking of--I have just finished watching season four of Dexter. (Was a great season full of twists and turns!) Am now making my way thru season five of Supernatural. (God vs. Satan--whoohoo!)
News Flash that I am finally getting around to posting from last week. ;)
I have a brand new worker (state) and she tried to talk to Merit Care for me. I am even more upset with them than I was. Merit Care could have forgiven my jaw surgery charges! She told me they have a fund set aside for that purpose for people as far below the poverty level as I am. When she called they tried to tell her that they didn't forgive the bill because I was uncooperative and they didn't know what my financial situation was.
That's a lie, of course. They always knew how much I get a month and they were always hostile to me from the get-go. Never once did they ever even suggest there was a possibility my bill could be forgiven. All they did was threaten me and tell me I wasn't paying enough. Well, you know all about that, don't you? I complained about it on the blog.
My new worker also told me that for the past three years I have had this QMB Medicaid coverage that is a supplemental coverage for Medicare that is paid for me because of my income. [My last workers never told me anything about it or sent me a card for Medicaid in the mail. The one I had when I was switched over to Medicare specifically told me I no longer had any Medicaid coverage at all, only Medicare.] Merit Care was not supposed to be charging me any of the deductibles for the last three years! For pharmacy, my rheumatologist, etc.
So she asked Merit Care why they had been charging me and collecting those fees? The lady tried to tell her they were doing that because of my outstanding bill (which didn't even exist until a year and a half ago).
My worker was still fired up when she called me back after talking to them. "Let me just say...they're not nice people", she told me, "and I wasn't nice back". I laughed! I know that all too well. She said she almost yelled at the woman, "What do you expect her to do--hand over her check to you and sleep on the sidewalk?!" They don't care--didn't phase the woman. I could have told her that--hehe!
They told my worker that now that I have been turned over to a collection agency it is too late to forgive the bill--period. I told her they had zero intentions of ever forgiving the bill in the first place, so no surprise there.
She told me not to pay the bill if I get one for my last rheumatologist visit (maybe I won't now that she called--been getting a bill for 40 some dollars each visit that I sent ten a month till I got it paid off) or for the pharmacy. She already sent me a letter about the QMB supplemental insurance I can show anyone I need to, said she'll have a card sent to me, and also told me I qualified to apply for Medical Assistance for the things that aren't covered by Medicare or the Medicare supplement!!!
I knew nothing about this, either. I could have applied and gotten help to pay for my glasses!!! I guess my previous workers either didn't know their stuff, were overworked, or lazy. The MA is a program that you can get on when you're poor enough (no problem here) but will expire if you don't use it for 7 consecutive months. She wants me to call her before I go back to the eye doctor for the glaucoma testing next year. (Medicare covers almost nothing for eye care--or dental.) She was glad I had gotten enrolled over at the Family Health Care Clinic for the dentist. I can go to a doctor there, too--also for the $25 in advance fee. (Haven't been to a regular doctor in years.) I have to reapply every year there.
Anyways, I am so thrilled to have a worker who seems to know her stuff and care! What a relief! But--it looks like Merit Care is double dipping with their bills, doesn't it? Maybe getting paid twice?? Or--rather than deal with the QMB paperwork, they just make the poorest uninformed folks like me pay? So--as my new worker suggested, I think I am going to see about whether the other health care system in town (Innovis) has a rheumatologist for my visit next year and switch to another pharmacy that is not part of the Merit Care system. Try to get totally out of the Merit Care system, you know?
I am totally and completely disgusted with Merit Care. Even more upset with them than I was in the first place. Horrible, horrible company! They knew I had that supplemental insurance--the lady found it immediately in my files--no searching. And they could have forgiven my bill??!!! Enough said.
I would miss my rheumatologist, tho. :( I've been seeing him for years and he's such a nice man. I've got till next summer to think it over...but I am probably going to try to switch to Innovis.
Anywho...right now, as Karma snores on her chair, I am going to settle in and watch some more of Supernatural and get lost in the battle between good and evil. ;)
Have a great week! :):)
"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone."
Audrey Hepburn


Serena Lewis said...

I am soooooo happy that you have a new worker who knows her stuff, Rita! I'm furious too that Merit Care knew better and still hounded you to pay a bill they should have forgiven...shame on them! I can't see why it still can't be forgiven considering they are the ones who handed it over to a collection agency...why can't they just notify the collection agency to drop it and leave you alone???

Intense Guy said...

Our government has made such a confusing mess of Medicare and Medicaid that I would forgive the workers you had - and the coverage under them changes every year depending on the whims of our "congress critters" and who they decide to grant loophole and other "only on every other thursdays for peoples whose last names start with G, J, or L - with the usual list of exceptions and exemptions.

I am happy someone is working WITH you to deal with Merit Care. I'm going to make sure I never have to go to Merit Care for anything! Not even to use their toilets (since they would probably charge for the toilet paper).

AliceKay said...

I'm happy to hear you have a new case worker who knows the rules and regulations and can stand up for you and your rights. Medical bills can take over a person's life and sometimes there's nothing you can do about it. I hope things work out well for you in the future.

Loved the pics of Karma. :)

Jenifleur-de-lis said...

That is such good news, Rita! So glad that she can help you with directions as to what you can receive! Yay! I bet this is a load off of your mind.

Toriz said...

That's so wrong, yet sounds just like people nowadays... They were getting extra money, while you had no idea, so they benifited. Isn't that how most places work these days? All most people/companies are caring about is lining their own pockets.

"It's a rich man's world, no matter what they call it, and you spend your life putting money in his pocket," ~ Dolly Parton (a piece from her 9 to 5 song).

Rita said...

Thanks Everybody!!

Serena--Forgiving a bill is totally a voluntary thing for them to do. I wasn't aware they had funding for that, but my new worker was. They never, ever had any intention of forgiving mine, tho. Just kept asking for more money and they knew how much I live on. As my worker said--not nice people. But it is their choice what they do.

Iggy--I know that many of the government employees ARE overworked and overburdened. Too much to do and too many people to cover. It is not that they don't mean well. Especially up here vs. when I lived in the Twin cities--they are generally much nicer folks. Like my lady I have for Caroline--she's supposed to visit every six months, but she calls me every other time and comes once a year. They are always overloaded. And my place always looks the same every time they come and I never have any changes to report, so I'm perfectly happy to do a phone interview every other time. And yes--the government changes the rules and the paperwork on whim. ;)

Merit Care is the type to let you go unsuspectingly to use their, what you might assume is free, toilet and then send you a big bill for it after the fact that you weren't expecting--ROFL!!

AliceKay--Yup! Medical Bills can take over your life, I know. Health issues can alter your life so that you barely recognize it. But--things are working out for me, regardless of those things. They always do. I truly have faith that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the hardest lessons are the best ones. :):):)

Jennifer--Yes! At least this lady can help me out with future bills. Sent by the angles! Happy me! :):)

Rita said...

Tori--Too often I agree with Dolly Parton! ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes thank God for your new worker, she sure does seem to know her stuff. There is no telling how many people Merit Care has screwed over. All that help would could have gotten and never knew, that makes me so mad lol When something like that happens here people call the news lady and she gets things straight, you got someone like that?? Maybe make the folks at Merit Care squirm a bit hehehe. I hope it all works out for you.

I loved the pictures of Karma as usual, made me smile :o)

Rita said...

Lynn--In Minneapolis they do a lot of investigative reporting (where I am from originally). I'm sure they must do some of it up here. If my worker knew or learns of other people this has happened to--then we'd have a case to present. With one person--they could claim it was just an oversight, you know? I'm sure my worker will keep her ear to the ground. ;)

Karma says hi!

akartisan said...

I'm sure you are relieved to have someone working WITH you for a change! People here write to their congressman or to the Ombudsman for the State or something when they are trying to get something like that fixed, then they put someone on it.
Maybe you can sleep better now, with less worries.

Rita said...

Sue--I still owe the money for the jaw surgery and I am still dealing with the collection agency. No one can force anyone to voluntarily forgive a bill. But at least I shouldn't have as many future bills. Yes--less worries. :)