Drop in/Drop out

11/27/2017

Yoga Therapy Art_0145 (1)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

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FUCK YES

1/27/17     12:09pm

I am SOOO ANGRY. And I slept 22.5 hours last night so I have plenty of energy to direct that way. I managed at least to scream “FUCK YOU!” after hanging up the phone.

I called the Coordinated Care Initiative line for the State of California. They are supposed to handle the conversion to and exemption of dual eligibles (those of us eligible for both Medicare and MediCal) from the new managed care requirements in this lovely state. The only easy way out of this requirement is to have HIV/AIDS or be an American Indian. I’m tempted.

What am I talking about?

Medicare is the health insurance offered to most seniors and people on disability (after 2 years). It’s hard to find a specialist that takes it but there are many useful hospitals that take it for medical and psych. There is a 190 day inpatient limit for psych days at a free-standing hospital. (When I’m better I shall be tackling this.)

MediCal is California’s version of Medicaid (federal health program for poor people.) It is near impossible to find a skilled clinician, if they give you a doctor at all instead of an intern, on MediCal. It is a good net if you have non-specific or only emergency medical needs but if you have chronic medical conditions and/or psych needs and have only MediCal, you’re screwed. In some clinics it’s better to be completely uninsured and pay a sliding-scale amount and see a good doctor. Having MediCal (and Medicare for that matter) also usually exempt you from prescription discount programs offered by manufacturers, even though formularies are scant.

If you have both Medicare and MediCal, MediCal won’t pay for any fee that is above what Medicare determines they should be paying your clinician – no matter how far below industry standard or just human dignitiy would allow. Yet our great state of CA decided that being covered fully by both insurances was just too much. In Jan 2014 they started a “demonstration period” of what’s called the “Coordinated Care Initiative” and started forcing people into either CalMediConnect (a program that pushes you into an HMO that rolls your Medicare and MediCal into one, SIGNIFICANTLY limiting your benefits) or whatever Medicare you already have plus being forced into a MediCal Managed Care Plan HMO. I opted out of this “demonstration” in the very complicated and hard to find way they barely provided as I watched the change mess up countless lives.

Then a few weeks ago I got a similar packet in the mail. I did some research online finding that the demonstration period ended Jan 2017 but no info on what the outcome was, whether it saved money, links to the actions taken by our government to expand or make it permanent. Nothing. Someone from CCI called to enroll me in a plan Wednesday since I hadn’t mailed in the form. I explained that I had no intention of joining an HMO because it would complicate and jeopardize my care and she told me where to find an exemption form. But the form says it’s only for people who don’t have another insurance. So I called back today.

I won’t lie. I’d be happy if this man’s head exploded and a MediCal doctor was left to piece it back together. He tried to convince me I wasn’t being forced into an HMO. FALSE. Then he told me I’d qualify for a non-medical exemption but failed to mention the American Indian or HIV/AIDS part right away. I asked about the demonstration period and where I could find information. “We’re just the enrollment center. That’s the state… That’s not my department. That’s not my issue,” he said. He kept coming back to trying to tell me my doctors wouldn’t be affected by joining a Managed Care Plan. Then he went and said it. “Well, if the only reason your doctor won’t see you is because of the extra time it takes to do MediCal paperwork, is that really a doctor you want to be seeing?”

YES!!!

How much more of a fucking idiot could he be?!! Just how they want them at the CCI office I bet. I told him, “YES!” Those are the doctors who have time to hear what’s going on, who listen to my situation, who have experience and choose to actually get paid for it instead of working for free or just supervising 10 interns at a time as they run around the office “practicing” medicine. FUCK YES.

Aside from just being rich, Medi-Medi with fee-for-service MediCal was the best insurance one could get. MediCal pays my monthly Medicare premium, automatically qualifies me for Part D Extra Help (making my generic drugs about $1 and my brand name drugs about $3), and picks up the copay at any doctor I see or prevents them from charging me one. I’m not looking forward to this new world and what will be denied or changed. At least I can blame screaming “FUCK YOU” at them on being crazy.

TIP:
I run into doctors who take Medicare but not MediCal and if you tell them you have both they say they can’t see you as a patient because they don’t take MediCal and it’s considered fraud to charge me my Medicare 20% or anything else.
WRONG
Usually I just call back and don’t tell them I have MediCal. Then they take me but I guess it’s still fraud.
I learned this from HICAP when I called a few days ago: It’s not fraud if they give me a statement in writing that they don’t accept or bill MediCal and I agree to this in advance of treatment. Sweet! I’m on the search for a preformatted statement like this and will post it when I find it. Then I can blanket the city and my group with this new information. I even had a girl turned down by a Sharp Urgent Care the other day because they told her the same thing. I do have ins at Sharp…

Don’t fuck with a fucker. I’ll take you out. ;)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

How to Save Verizon Voicemails using Google Voice

4-11-14     1:38pm hands-untied-from-rope

Puzzled by how to save your Verizon voicemails? Feel trapped on their network because you don’t want to lose the precious, special, or important sounds in their system? I was and did. I even tried saving them through the Verizon system but it left me with a file only that phone could read. Some people think it’s stupid that I save voicemails but it’s really important to me to be able to hear the sound of my loved ones’ voices. It soothes me, especially when I can’t be around them or if/when they die. Google Voice solves the problem.

What you’ll need:

  • Active Verizon voicemail account
  • Google Voice account
  • Phone #1 – phone that does not have a Google Voice account linked to it OR phone whose Google Voice number is not the same as the number whose voicemails you’re recording.
  • Phone #2 – a second phone that your Google Voice number rings to (cannot have the same number as the phone number whose voicemails you’re retrieving.)
  • time
  • patience

Directions:

  1. Go to Google Voice www.google.com/voice
  2. Log in if prompted.
  3. Click on the gear icon in the upper right.Screenshot 2014-05-02 21.38.16-1
  4. Choose “Settings.” Screenshot 2014-05-02 21.38.25-1
  5. Uncheck all phones but Phone #2. Note – Settings is also where you can choose a different number for your Google Voice number to ring to.
    **Remember to put the settings back when you’re finished recording! Screenshot 2014-05-02 21.39.37-1
  6. Click on the “Calls” tab and check the “Enable Recording” box.Voice Settings
  7. From Phone #1, call the Google Voice number that rings to Phone #2.
  8. If prompted when answering, press 1 to accept the call on Phone #2.
  9. Don’t hang up.
  10. Call your Verizon number from the keypad on Phone #2.
  11. Press # during your voicemail greeting and enter your Verizon voicemail password when prompted.
  12. Merge the two calls (making it a 3-way).MERGE
  13. Mute the mic on both phones to ensure only your voicemail is recorded.
    mute
  14. Press 4 on the Google # line to start call recording.
    **Make sure you hear the recording announcement.**
  15. Listen to the first message.
  16. During the message, press the keypad to minimize the numbers & then “manage conference.”kk
  17. Listen to the message.
  18. When the message is over, quickly press to control the Verizon #’s keypad, enter command (save/skip/etc.).
  19. Merge calls again before next message starts.
  20. Repeat steps 16-19 until all desired messages have been recorded.
    Note – It may take a few tries to get the timing down. I recommend trying this with one test message before recording all of them.
  21. When you are finished recording, press to control the Google #’s keypad from the calling phone.
    mm
  22. Press 4 to stop recording.
  23. Make sure you hear the end-recording announcement.
  24. Hang up both lines.
  25. Check your Google Voice account to make sure the recording showed up. It will appear as a very long new voicemail.

Congratulations! You can now download an mp3 of your voicemails or listen from your inbox. You are free to move about the globe contract free!

I really hope this helps. It took me SUCH a long time to figure out and I’m still not sure how exactly I did it. I just know I finally did. Let me know if it works for you. I know it gives me peace of mind that my memories are safe as I switch to T-Mobile.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Walmart Check Printing

5-25-14     5:49pm

There is an awesome service I’ve been using for awhile that most people don’t even know about. I’ll share it with you as I sit here watching “The Croods.” Walmart Check Printing. Yep. I said check printing. From Walmart. No joke. I discovered it a few years ago when I was looking for Disney princess checks. Most sites I checked had them for $30+ per box for singles. That is way out of my price range. Thankfully, I stumbled upon www.walmartchecks.com I’ve purchased my checks from them ever since – both personal and business.

The process:

  1. Go to http://www.walmartchecks.com/
  2. Browse the categories on the left.
  3. Choose a design.
  4. Add personalization if you want to (extra phrase or logo, etc.)
  5. Place order.

Most checks are under $10 per box, including duplicates and Disney checks and other popular designs. They are of great quality and offer an extra security feature if you want it. I always choose the first class shipping because it’s cheapest and my order arrives in about a week. It doesn’t look like checks though because it’s not packaged in the traditional sized check boxes. It looks like this.

 

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Good luck in your search for the perfect checks. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Recipe for a Day List

8/18/13     5pm

This is my day list. I use it every day. Today I updated and prettified it. If you’re trying to make one and want customized bullets, use Word instead of Publisher.

Day List 8-18-13

My day list has been so helpful for me. I have memory problems and things an average person would have no problem remembering slip my mind and run away. Like somehow it’s a trap and they finally escape. So awhile back I decided to make myself a list of things I need to do every day to remind me. I put it in a page protector (clear plastic cover) and mark off each thing with a dry erase marker as I do it. I made a space on my wall to hang it last night because I keep losing it. My day list gets me through the day. 

The day list has helped me keep up with self-care when I’m really depressed and make sure I come back to basics when I’m manic or agitated. I find that when I’m doing better I don’t need it as much and when I’m doing exceedingly bad I don’t even remember I have one. Thankfully, my psychiatrist reminds me. 

I feel accomplished when I do everything, which is pretty rare. I am grateful it reminds me what to take with me. I made it. I love it. I’m proud of myself. 

Recipe for making your own day list:

Ingredients – 1 sheet protector, 1 sheet of paper, pencil or pen, 1+ dry erase markers

  1. Think about what you NEED to do every day (not what you think you SHOULD do or what someone else thinks you SHOULD do).
  2. Write those things down in an order you are most likely to do them.
  3. Place the paper in the sheet protector.
  4. Put the list in a place you’ll see it every morning, next to a dry erase marker.
  5. Use. (Do a task, mark it off, erase marks at the end of the day.)
  6. Revise as needed.
  7. Celebrate your accomplishments!

Just a note – some people think my list is stupid. My mom doesn’t get it. She hassled me about it at first. Why do I need a list? Can’t I just remember that? Honestly, no. I’m glad I kept using it. If it works for you, do it. Let me know how it goes. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

How to Move Verizon Backup Assistant Contacts to Gmail

7-6-13

I have been wondering how to do this for some time now – brooding over it actually – and today I figured it out. Way easier than I had anticipated, given my previous attempts last year online. I wanted to share the process.

You are approximately 10 minutes from contact freedom!

Click on the images to open them full size in a new tab.

  1. Log in to your wireless account at www.verizonwireless.com.vblog0
  2. Scroll down until you see something like this. If you are the primary account holder, click “Manage my Device.” If not, skip to step 3. vblog 7
  3. Click Manage My Contacts
    vblog 1
  4. If prompted, sync your Backup Assistant contacts to the cloud. You will have the option to add in contacts from other email accounts. When it gives you the option, click that you are done setting up.
  5. Next you will see your Verizon Contacts page. Click “Select All” or manually select the contacts you want exported.
    vblog 2
  6. Then click the Gear icon for the dropdown settings menu and select “Export Contact.”
    vblog 4
  7. This popup will appear. Select “Export my contacts to an email service…” Then click “Export.”
    vblog 5
  8. Another popup will appear asking you to name the file you are saving & pick a destination. Then click “Save.”
    vblog 8
  9. Next, log in to your Gmail email account.
    vblog 9
  10. Choose Contacts from the Gmail dropdown menu on the upper left.
    vblog 10
  11. In the center of the page, click the “More” dropdown menu and select “Import.”
    vblog 11
  12. When prompted, choose the file you saved earlier and click “Import.”vblog 12
  13. All of your contacts in the saved file will be imported to your Gmail account under a new label. You can rename this label by clicking on the label name in the list of labels on the left, then choosing “Rename Label” under the More dropdown menu.vblog 14
  14. You may be prompted to merge duplicate files automatically. If not, you may do this from the More dropdown menu. If you do not like how the files were imported or want to undo them for any reason, select “Restore Contacts”
    vblog 13

Your Verizon Backup Assistant contacts will now be available in your Gmail account and any synced Android device. A copy will remain with Verizon but your contacts are now yours. Congrats!

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013