My Novels

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Medicare -- not what you think it is!

So, resuming where I left off in the last post: I had an appointment with my orthopedic doctor. No x-rays, no MRI; he just told me I needed a soft cushion. Could buy a nice gel cushion on Amazon.

Seriously? 

Thank goodness I have Medicare with a good private insurance medigap policy (176.00 a month), so the visit didn't cost me anything. He did look at my toes, and agreed with the podiatrist -- surgery needed for the bunion and big toe correction. Still no firm plans on that, even though my bunion/toe continue to hurt, which prevents long walks, or any prolonged standing. No wonder people gain weight in their 60s; body starts failing, can't exercise! Jeez.

Speaking of Medicare, the Part D drug policies are truly perplexing. There's about ten pages of legalese that has to be deciphered, and at the end of it all, the fact is that there's so many "Tiers" for each drug it's mind-boggling. Also, different status regarding which "phase" you are in with the Part D government/insurance partnership. It's totally ridiculous. I paid $69.00 a month this year, and never met the deductible of $333.00 the entire year (so far). I'm definitely changing insurers for next year, and since it's open enrollment, I'm up to my eyeballs in trying to figure out which is better for me. Frankly, might as well get a crappy, CHEAP policy since the deductibles won't be met unless you have catastrophic issues. And even then, after about $4,000.00 you hit the doughnut hole, which means NO drug coverage at all for the next $5,000.00 even if  you have a great policy.

Let me simplify: the middle men of insurance take their cut off the top, which hikes up rates and coverage for individuals. Yes, even on Medicare (at least for Part D and medigap). Now if you are in the lowest low of income, less than $30,000.00, you might qualify for some assistance with drugs, but not me. Not that my income is sky-high, just over that critical barrier. And last year my novels sold well, which created a nightmare for my taxes.

Alas, I digress.

Medicare = Not as good as I thought.

End of rant.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Rainy Sunday

I have almost abandoned this blog. However, I don't want to take it down. And should try to post more often.

Currently I am rewriting/editing a long novel, "Lonesome Moon Road." It is complex and complicated, and taking quite a chunk of time to get ready to publish. It is crime/thriller/suspense genre, though not sure it fits tidily in that category. Often my work is a mash-up of genre, and while I realize I could make better money sticking to ONE genre, I just can't. Money isn't why I write anyway. I do like having readers, but creating characters that come to life and demand their story be told...is more important. Plus, I love to write.

I did move my memoir to another free publishing platform. At some point in the future, I plan to put that into public domain. I feel it is important that young adults read it, perhaps learn from my dysfunctional family and childhood. There is help out there now, but so often, children/teens fear reaching out, breaking that wall of silence that keeps them suffering in abusive/dangerous homes. Anyhow, there's a link to that if you scroll through my twitter feed to the right of this post.

What else? Rambo had surgery to remove a large benign lump on his side that the vet feared would grow large enough to affect walking. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be, since I opted to leave him at the vet for a week to heal. He had to have a drain, and I was afraid he'd pull it out at home. He's back to his normal self now, and can't barely tell anything happened. Costly, but worth every penny since I've had him with me eleven years. Found him at the animal shelter about four months after my husband died.

Muffin is fine, though much too heavy. I have tried "diets" for her, but what she really needs is more exercise. Due to my continuing toe and back issues, I can't walk as far or as often as I once did. Sigh.

On that note though, I did see a podiatrist and get x-rays of my toes. He said he could do surgery, remove the bunion, as well as straighten the crooked first big toe. However, some of the warnings he mentioned caused me to put it off. Plus, I will have to find help here at home, since I will have to stay off my feet a few weeks. Tomorrow I see my orthopedic doctor, need another MRI to see what is going on with my spine; having some numbness in feet/hands.

It's always something.

That's it for today.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Eligible for Medicare at last!

So nearly a year since an entry -- and no excuse. I'd like to say I've been totally devoted to publishing fiction, but I've been a slacker in the past few months. After the big boom of hitting best seller lists with three of my novels, I realized a few economic consequences (taxes, etc) and decided not to publish again till January, 2017. Hence, I have been writing new fiction, editing, instead of publishing. I have several new novels and novellas almost ready for publication, but again, not till January.


What else? Well the reason for this blog is to celebrate today: I now am a card-carrying Medicare participant. It's been a rough, rocky ten years of struggling to keep medical insurance, and though some people hated Obamacare, it was a savior for me. I couldn't risk losing everything my late husband and I worked and sacrificed all our lives for to medical bills; keeping insurance was very important. Fortunately, other than a couple of medical issues, my health has remained good. I do have several problems I've put off and will now see what can be done. Foot/toes and back problems.

Of course, for anyone who thinks Medicare covers everything, it certainly doesn't. Only 80 percent in most cases. So I have a medigap policy with Blue Cross, as well as part D drug plan. In addition to those two, there is a payment of 120.00+ for medicare part B. Altogether, I will be paying around 400.00 a month, but it should be near 100 percent coverage. Who knows how long this will last though? With Republicans in the majority, and gunning for Medicare, not to mention allowing private insurance to once again go unregulated, I'm sure this won't last. I would suggest to anyone at all concerned about medicare, pay close attention to what the republicans try to do in the next four years. I know I will, as well as not hesitate to contact my representatives about medicare and social security, should either be threatened.

My two dogs continue to thrive, although Rambo does have a couple of small fatty tumors that will need removing at some point. I still feed stray cats, and take care of a few regulars better than just food.

I spent a couple weeks raking leaves, and using a small battery leaf blower I bought; it helps somewhat. I think I'm just about finished with that chore this year, and it's been tough on my back. I tried to be careful about the way I raked - forward and not in a twisting motion. I'm just surprised I was able to do it at all....since it's an ordeal over several weeks just to manage, not a one-time leaf-raking.

I am typing on a new laptop I bought during the cyber bargains. It's a Chromebook, and I love it so far. I may even start doing some of my fiction writing in this new word processing app I downloaded in the Chrome app store. We shall see....

Saturday is my birthday, and I'll be sixty-five. Hard to believe since it seems only yesterday I was a young adult. Looking back, I wouldn't live my childhood or 20s over again for a million dollars. Both were awful in so many ways. But in my 30s, life improved significantly and smoothed out. Not that it was ever completely smooth-sailing: What life is? However, I've weathered the storms and I'm sure there will be more as time passes.

Alas, I have had a good life, a privileged life in some ways. I got to fulfill my greatest desire: writing fiction, and even seeing a measure of publishing success. I had a wonderful, long marriage and though it was difficult to lose my husband, I have adapted now and don't think I'd ever be interested in another romantic relationship. I've become far too independent and "set in my ways." However, I wouldn't rule it out entirely. And at some point, I think assisted living might be in my future. I don't fear that though, because I researched the establishments in my area and can afford a nice place. In fact, it would be like an extended vacation at a hotel after wrangling with the maintenance troubles of owning a home.

Life....it happens.

Friday, January 01, 2016

New Year's Day 2016

How did it get to be 2016? Amazing! Time is flying, as they say.

I don't keep up with this blog as often as I'd like, but did want to sum up the past year and my goals for 2016.

First, I lost my dear doxie, Oscar, last February; I still miss him, although I still have two dogs. Rambo is getting old, nearly 11 now, but still active and spry. Muffin is about 3, so hopefully she'll be with me a long time. I got Rambo about six months after my husband died; it is going to be very, very difficult when I lose him. He's very protective of me, as well as a general watch-dog -- always on alert for stranger-danger. Ha!

Last January I published Wildscapes; it was mostly written in the fall of 2014 though. I didn't write again until early fall, then completed Where Whippoorwills Call, published in early December. I have also completed Fogbound, don't know when I'll publish it. I've been busy, suffice to say.

And that brings me to my New Year's resolution: continue to write fiction. Not going to do much promotion, instead focusing on turning out new novels and/or short stories. More content. The promotion is almost a full-time job, so I am not going to do much this coming year.

Most important though, I'm on count-down to medicare! This time next year, if I make it to then, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief that I won't have to worry about losing everything I have to medical bills. Of course, I'll still have to get a supplemental insurance policy, but overall, it should be much better financially. However, even with the insurance I have now, I've managed to increase my savings. I am a frugal person, and my only extravagance is electronics.

To that end, this past year I had to buy a new desktop PC; a new wireless router, and a new flat screen TV for the bedroom. All were necessary, not just upgrades. I'm intrigued by the new gadgets though, like Amazon's Echo; I just hope that by the time I need assistance around the house, some sort of robot is available and affordable. Would be wonderful!

And with that, I'm going to sign off. Hoping for a healthy and productive New Year!