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Migraine, Other Health Issues, and Insurance

Mime-Pleading-150In the late 90's, my Migraines became chronic, leaving me with a debilitating Migraine five or six days a week. Those Migraines cost me my job and left me with pretty much no life. When I learned about true Migraine specialists and began treating with one, things started to turn around. Now, 15 years later, Migraines strike one or two days a week. Because of a great treatment regimen, a Migraine seldom takes me down for more than an hour or two.

Taking daily medications is something I'm never going to like, but those medications make it possible for me to function and to have a pretty good quality of life. There are other conditions for which I need medications too - diabetes, heart disease, glaucoma, and a couple of others. So I count on my medications and being able to get them when I need them.

My husband worked for DuPont for 30+ years. One of the reasons he stayed with DuPont during the last years of his career was for the benefits that would continue through his retirement, including medical and prescription insurance. Our insurance isn't "free" for us. We pay significant premiums to keep the insurance, but if it works the way it should, it's well worth it.

Therein lies the problem. My prescription drug coverage, which is through Express Scripts is so messed up right now that I can't order anything through their mail order service, and if I were to take a new prescription to a local pharmacy, I'm not sure it would be covered.

We first discovered there was a problem when Dr. Watson's (my Migraine specialist) nurse called Express Scripts for a coverage review to get Axert covered. She called me to tell me that Express Scripts said my coverage had ended December 31. John (my husband) called DuPont and was told that they'd sent me a new drug coverage card with a new account number for this year. I had received nothing from them, but John had received Express Scripts insurance cards in the mail. Since he's older and on Medicare, he'd just thrown the cards away because his drug coverage isn't through Express Scripts. After John spent two and a half hours on the phone with DuPont and Express Scripts, we thought the issue was settled. We got logged onto my Express Scripts account online and changed the ID number as directed.

All was well - we thought. Then we discovered that all of my prescription refills had disappeared. I asked Dr. Watson's nurse to do the coverage review for Axert again and send in all new prescriptions. She got the approval for Axert and sent in all new prescriptions for me. Whew! Again, all was well - we thought. BUT, I received yet another new set of Express Scripts insurance cards with yet another new ID number. John called again. He was told that the new number is to go into effect on May 4 and that all of my prescriptions would be transferred to it. I cannot, however, log onto the Express Scripts site to see that account until May 5. When I log onto what's supposed to be my current account, all of my prescription refills are gone - again.

Now, do you want to know the truly confounding issue? Nobody at DuPont or Express Scripts can tell John why all of these changes are being made to my account. Changing ID numbers in the middle of the year is totally unprecedented, and nobody at either company can give us any answers.

I wear two hats in this situation:

  1. The patient who's being stressed and so negatively impacted by the situation.
  2. The patient advocate who helps others but doesn't seem to be able to do anything to help myself with this situation.

To summarize the situation:

  • DuPont and / or Express Scripts keep changing my ID number with no explanation. When new Express Scripts cards come in the mail, all I get is the cards with a "Welcome to Express Scripts" letter. No information about what's changing or why.
  • Hours spent on the phone have resulted in no answers on the what or why.
  • I've had to get all new prescriptions once and may have to do so again.
  • There seems to be nothing we can do other than wait and see what happens next week when yet another new ID number goes into effect.

There's absolutely no excuse for nobody being able to answer our questions. I can say with absolute confidence that if I performed my job so poorly, I'd be fired. John worked for DuPont for 30+ years with the guarantee of benefits through retirement until each of us reached the age where Medicare took over. We've paid significant monthly premiums for my coverage since he retired 15 years ago. There's no possible excuse for all of the inefficiency here or the plain old stupidity involved. It's not even as if DuPont and Express Scripts are giving me this coverage out of the goodness of their hearts. John worked for it for over 30 years, and we're PAYING for the coverage.

On top of the impact of Migraine and my other health issues on my physical health, I now have all of this stress impacting both my physical and mental health. Insurance should be there to help us with our health issues, not make them worse.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2015
Last updated April 29, 2015.


Let's Talk Migraine - Useless Tweets and eBooks

Lets-Talk2How much would you pay for an eBook that contained valuable information that could help you with your Migraines? Whatever amount you have in mind, would you still pay it if the same information could be found online at NO CHARGE?

Twitter has become one of the fastest and most effective way of promoting business endeavors, including the sale of eBooks. Something I've come across lately is a practice that I find to be pretty sneaky. I'm not going to get into naming names, so I'll refer to the person I'm talking about as TweeterX.

TweeterX Tweets so often with the hashtag #Migraine that she's ranked as a Twitter influencer for the hashtag. Here's how she's sneaky - several times a day, she posts valid migraine facts such as:

  • "Sometimes postdrome #migraine phase can involved impaired thinking for a few days after the #headache has passed."
  • "During postdrome phase, many report a sore feeling in the area where the #migraine was."
  • "The frequency of #migraine attacks is variable, from a few in a lifetime to several a week, with the average being about one a month."

Sadly, she also posts Tweets such as:

  • Discover The Secret To Completely Eliminating Your Migraine Pain Forever
  • #Migraines are not as difficult to treat as you think
  • Never Spend Another Dime On Expensive, Dangerous #Migraine Treatments
  • Eliminate Your #Migraine Pain Forever In The Next 48 Hours

There are a few things wrong with that second list of Tweets:

  1. At this time, nothing can live up to those claims.
  2. All of them link to an eBook she's selling.
  3. The eBook is garbage. There is some decent information in it, but none of it is anything that can't be found online AT NOT CHARGE.

The eBook she's selling is The Migraine Relief Guide, and I can make statements about it because so many people were asking me about it that I bought it so I could review it. The cost? It was #37 when I bought it; it's now $27. That's $27 for a 53-page eBook. If you want to know more about The Migraine Relief Guide, you can read my review, but that $27 would be far better spent on a couple of GOOD books.

Keep in mind that, just like web sites, some Tweets contain good information while others... well, others are a waste of time at best and a rip-off at worst. Migraines can make us desperate and ready to try pretty much anything. But, we need to be cautious and aware of useless Tweets and eBooks. We already spend enough on our health. We don't need to spend money that, in the end, is wasted.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2015
Last updated April 16, 2015.

 

 


Migraine, Taking Breaks, and Cruising

NassauAtDusk350For nearly 15 years now, I've been working as a patient educator and advocate in the area of Migraine and other Headache disorders. This is work I love, and one of the best things about it is all of the contact I have with other people who have Migraines, Cluster Headaches, NDPH, Hemicrania Continua, and all of the other headache disorders.

Something I didn't come to realize until two years ago is that I tend to "burn out" if I don't take real breaks from work, volunteer activities, and the rest of "real life." My husband and I don't tend to take what many people view as "real" vacations. Most of our vacations involve visiting family. With nine grandchildren and none of our family living where we do, those vacations were ones where, after they were over, I felt like I needed a vacation to recover from vacation. I'd bet most of you know exactly what I mean.

Two years ago, a friend convinced me to go on a cruise. My husband doesn't like traveling, and REALLY doesn't like doing things outdoors, so he was quite happy to have to go off on a cruise with a friend while he stayed home. WOW! I had no idea how wonderful getting away would be. Some of my other friends were absolutely certain that I couldn't go a week with out Internet access or being on my phone a lot. HA! Fooled them! For a full week, I used my laptop only to look at the photos I'd taken with my digital camera. I used my iPhone to call home for about five minutes each evening and use it as an alarm clock each morning. Otherwise, it was turned off and locked in the safe in my cabin.

Before I left, I was feeling burned out and felt I had little to offer my precious Migraine and Headache family. Getting away was like recharging batteries. I came home, rested, refreshed, and ready to dive into things again. So, last year, when my friend wanted to cruise again, I was ready!

NassauSunset500

This year, two of my friends who have Migraines and I are going on a cruise in October. We've booked the cruise and two excursions -  one to go snorkeling when we're in Grand Turk, and one to swim with the dolphins in Nassau. Hubby is once again staying home. He says he's glad I have friends to go with. I know that what he's really happy about is our agreement that I'll vacation with friends and not nag him to take a vacation with me.

True, it can be very difficult to take vacations when we live with Migraines and Headaches. There have been times when my Migraines were chronic and so severe that I couldn't have taken this type of vacation. I still get a couple of Migraines most weeks, but at this time, I can usually take my medications and be back on my feet in an hour or two. Certainly, there are other vacations that would be easier for many of us, including vacationing at home and "hiding out."

My friends and I are counting the days until our cruise, so I set up the ticker below:

Do you make it a point to take a break and get away? Do you find that you're better able to cope with your Migraines and Headaches if you take a break? If you don't, give it a try. It's SO worth it!

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

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© Teri Robert, 2015
Last updated April 9, 2015.

 


Let's Talk Migraine - Triggers

Lets-Talk2We all know that doctors have less time to discuss our Migraines during our appointments these days. Still I'm still shocked when someone tells me that their doctors have never discussed their Migraine triggers with them — or worse still, never even told them that Migraines HAVE triggers.

I've had Migraines since I was six-years-old. Nobody ever told me about triggers. I thought Migraines just happened and didn't learn any better until I was in my 40's, my Migraines became chronic, and I sought care from a Migraine specialist.

Have you and your doctor discussed your Migraine triggers? Do you discuss them when you go for follow-up appointments. For more on this important issue, please read Two Vital Migraine Related Issues That Doctors Often Don't Mention.

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1
 

AHMALogoFinal200Join Us for the 2015 Patient Conference on June 21, 2015!

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© Teri Robert, 2015
Last updated April 1, 2015.