Thursday, October 17, 2019

Arghh!! It’s open enrollment time again!

White Rock RV Park, White Rock, NM, 10-17-19

I am very proud of EJ today. It’s only been 2 days since open enrollment started (for us old folks on Medicare open enrollment ends December 7). She declared that we were gonna get this done and out of the way so we don’t have to worry about it any more. We are excellent procrastinators and waiting until the very end to accomplish something is not uncommon.


One of the reasons for leading with the “Arghh” in the title is the mandate that we must carry Medicare Part D insurance for drugs or risk being monetarily penalized for the rest of our lives. Fortunately, EJ and I only have one prescription drug each that we require. And we can buy those drugs from Walmart with out using any insurance for far less than the price of the required policy.

And not only that, Humana sent us an email stating that if we wanted to keep our equivalent drug plan for 2020 it would cost each of us over an extra $30 a month. We prefer to stick with Humana because they are partnered with Walmart. And almost any where you go there is a Walmart nearby. Plus, it is so easy to transfer a prescription from one Walmart to another which is great for full time RVers.

So we started crunching numbers to try and understand which drug plan would be best and cheapest for us. Humanas’ price for a 2020 plan equivalent to what we have in 2019 is $58 per month. That’s $696 a year for each of us!! We can walk down to Walmart and buy four 90 day supplies for our prescriptions (with out insurance) for $40 per year each. That means we are throwing $656 down the drain.

Obviously we have to make a change. We can’t change the law and we don’t want to be penalized by opting out of the drug insurance plan all together. We continue digging and find that Humana has a “Walmart Value Rx plan for only $13.20 per month each. So instead of paying $696 for drugs that only cost us $40, we will pay $158.40 for those $40 worth of drugs, or a savings of $537.60 per year. It’s sad that we have to pay 4 times what the drugs actually cost, but in the end I guess we are subsidizing those in less fortunate circumstances.

For those interested, Walmart has a list of drugs and their prices for a 30 day and a 90 day supply is located HERE. Compare this to the price of your drug insurance, you might be surprised.

Next we tackled our supplemental health insurance. Since Medicare only covers 80% of your medical bill, we needed something to cover the other 20%.  We’ve been with Florida Blue since I turned 65 and they have worked out well for us as we travel. This year I have had more medical attention than I like, and no matter where we were, Florida Blue has handled it. So even though they raised their prices by about $15 a month we decided to stick with them for another year. We use their Plan F.

This all took the better part of the day. But it’s over with now for another year and kudos to my dear wife for making sure we did this instead of procrastinating.

Obligatory cat picture follows:


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Miss Maggie Gives Us a Scare

Aspen Ridge RV Park, 9-27 to 10-1-19, South Fork, CO

Miss Maggie, as you may know, is our elder rescue cat. She joined our family in September of 2016 after we found her in a Priest River, Idaho animal shelter. We thought she looked so old and frail that she wouldn’t last through the winter. We decided that we wanted to make her last days as comfortable as possible so the decision was made to take her home with us.

Well, it wasn’t quite that straightforward as we Putnam’s never seem to make a snap decision about important things. We actually left her overnight while we talked about having her join our family. And it got cold that night so we worried about whether the shelter would keep her inside or would she be cold, would she make it and so on.

Three years later, she is still a part of our nomadic little group. Oh she still has her health problems that we deal with. In her previous life she had some trauma with her hips and now her mobility is limited. But she has learned that if she squawks loud enough we will help her up into a chair or down as the case may be. We travel with a ramp that we set up at the foot of our bed so she can walk up to go to sleep, or walk down for a late night snack.

She weighs about 5 pounds and never seems to gain any weight even though she has a voracious appetite. One of the medical problems she has is megacolon. This is a condition where the large intestine gets, well larger in diameter, and the bowel muscles get weak making it hard to go to the bathroom. The vet has prescribed lactulose which has really helped.


Naturally when anything changes with her eating and bathroom habits we go on high alert. In the past, she has been to the vets several times to get, as we call it, “roto-rooted” to get her go to the bathroom( that’s Frank’s way of saying she received an enema) . This hasn’t happened in over two years so the Lactulose is working really well.

One day in late September she stopped eating altogether. She acted like she wanted to eat, but when she would get to her food bowl she would start making gagging noises. We tried all her favorite foods and got the same results.


We steeled ourselves for the worst (thinking this may be the end) and made an appointment at the vet in Monte Vista, CO. This is the same vet office we took Gabby to a year ago when she had the “Gabby Bot” experience.

The vets there are kind and gentle and spend as much time with you as you want, while answering your questions and concerns. We insisted on all kinds of tests which all came back fine. There was no infection, her bloodwork was fine, all indications pointed to a healthy kitty. So why wouldn’t she eat. The vet ended up rehydrating Miss Maggie, and giving her an appetite enhancer. We asked for and received some special food that tasted extra delicious hoping that would help.


After paying a hefty bill, we returned back to the RV and opened up a can of the special food. And she gobbled it up.


The next day, I got the old off brand cat food (Paws) out of the refrigerator and put it in her bowl. When I set it on the floor she walked up to it and started gagging again, but didn’t eat any of it. I replaced it with some canned Friskies and she gobbled it down. Hmpf!! Could all of this been because of a can of “bad” cat food? The only difference is this time she only sniffed it and the previous time she actually ate it.

Life in Miss Mosey is back to normal again and so is Miss Maggie. Basking in the sun is always good.