Happy Book News, with vicious rant behind the cut

It’s official: PROM is available in paperback!

::happy dancing::

PROM was also honored by making VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers (check out the whole list for other great titles).

::more happy dancing::

And FEVER 1793 proudly sits on the
2006 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults List
, chosen by YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association.

I love the way this committee organizes the list. It comes up with fun, funky categories every year. Check out this year’s (descriptions stolen from the committee’s press release):

“Books That Don’t Make You Blush: No Dirty Laundry Here” Books that are fun to read and appeal to all teens.

“Criminal Elements” Fiction and nonfiction about teens that find themselves in opposition to or on the wrong side of the law, as well as stories about lives affected by encounters with the legal system, gangs, law enforcement, and prison.

“What Ails You?” Fiction and nonfiction about how diseases, disorders and other general health related symptoms affect our lives. (This is the list that FEVER is on.)

“GLBTQ” Contemporary fiction and nonfiction for teens of all persuasions.

If you’re looking for something good to read, I strongly suggest you print out the list and take it to the library with you.

::stops dancing to stare at mountain of paperwork on desk::

In the cranky news category: I spent hours and hours again yesterday trying to straighten out the host of Medicare issues that have been hounding my parents for months. Many of you probably don’t care about this so I’m putting it behind a cut:

If the experience I’ve had trying to help my parents out of their swamp of Medicare/insurance/health care issues is typical, then Medicare is broken, broken, broken.

(Medicare is the government program that provides very basic health insurance to elderly Americans.)

I’ll try to summarize the background. When Mom retired, her employer offered some health insurance offered by Humana, that supplemented Medicare. (This covered Dad, too.) So far, so good.

Humana refused to cover them when they moved out of Florida. We got them another policy. Once the new policy was in place, I had to cancel the Humana policy. That sounds like a simple thing, right?

(pardon me while I double over with laughter)

It took eight weeks of regular phone calls, faxes, and letters, to finally get the policy canceled, and to get the paperwork which stated that it was canceled. By Thanksgiving, it seemed that all was in order.

(cue deep, dark, mysterious music.)

Oh, no, girl. The fun was just beginning.

My mom’s doctor’s started to get these weird letters from Medicare saying she was still a Humana patient, and that’s were the bills should go. So I started calling Medicare to clear up the confusion. If you ever need to call Medicare, you need about three hours to get through the layers and layers of automated phone messages and find a human being. If you press 0 repeatedly, you’ll get a human, who will then transfer you to another automated phone message line. Then you finally get to a department where some sweet, but uninformed person is earning minimum wage to read information to you from a computer screen and tell you that you need to speak to a different department. Hours and hours into the process in November, December, and January, I came across several Medicarnoids who assured me that it was all a minor paperwork glitch that would work itself out in the fullness of time.

So, yesterday? It was February. My mom has amazing doctors, but they have families to feed, and so do their nurses and office assistants, and not surprisingly, they are getting cranky about the bills that are now unpaid from November, December, and January. And my mom is panicking because she is 75 years old and frail, and probably won’t be able to get a job at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart to pay these bills, not that I would ever let it come to that.

I did the Medicare phone mambo again. The Medicarnoids have now decided that the fault lies with Humana, which I will now refer to as The Evil Empire in the hopes that it will attract the attention of their lawyers who will then sue me for defamation, which will be good because then maybe, JUST MAYBE, I’ll will be able to get the attention of someone there who has miscoded my mother’s file.

The conspiracy version of this is that The Evil Empire is scamming Medicare and stealing money from the federal government (aka you and me) by keeping my mom, and possibly thousands of other elderly, on their books past their official disenrollment.

The common sense version is that The Evil Empire is poorly run, understaffed, overwhelmed, or in need of new software.

Frankly, I don’t care. My parents worked hard all their lives and do not deserve this crap. I already have a full-time job, thank you very much, and it is not so good that I am putting days and days and days, now weeks and weeks of time into a problem that could be fixed very simply.

And you know what really sucks? My parents have an annoying daughter (me) who is able to fight for them. There must be countless elderly who are facing the same problem and who are as baffled by bureaucracy and automated phone messages and regulations and paperwork as my folks are. These old people are then being denied coverage and benefits that they worked for, and are ending their days in unnecessary pain and confusion. I am angry about this!!!! I am pissed!!!

(stops to pant and catch breath, wipes spittle off side of mouth)

Because I lost it yesterday, Medicare is opening an investigation into this situation. I still have not been able to speak to a single person at The Evil Empire because their phones are locked into a busy signal. (This, I am told, is in part due to the disaster disguised as the Medicare Part D prescription plan, and you do not want me to get started on that abomination.) This weekend I am putting together letters to my senators and congressman. If that doesn’t work, you might see me on the news being arrested in front of the headquarters of The Evil Empire.

OK. Rant over. I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

48 Replies to “Happy Book News, with vicious rant behind the cut”

  1. Yay for paperback news!

    I did a debate in my argumentation and debate class last semester about the evils of Medicare Part D (as part of the general topic of “significantly changing US drug policy) and no one wanted to argue against me because all research pointed to Medicare being an evil, evil entity.

    Well, maybe not “evil,” but poorly run.

  2. Yay for paperback news!

    I did a debate in my argumentation and debate class last semester about the evils of Medicare Part D (as part of the general topic of “significantly changing US drug policy) and no one wanted to argue against me because all research pointed to Medicare being an evil, evil entity.

    Well, maybe not “evil,” but poorly run.

  3. hi

    congrats on the good news about prom and fever:-)! i’m really happy for you! i’m sorry about all the medicare problems:-(. i’ll watch for you on the news getting arrested by the evil empire lol. i’ll bet that’s what sarah hale would have done too. good luck you bold, brave, stubborn, and smart lady! -ash 🙂

  4. hi

    congrats on the good news about prom and fever:-)! i’m really happy for you! i’m sorry about all the medicare problems:-(. i’ll watch for you on the news getting arrested by the evil empire lol. i’ll bet that’s what sarah hale would have done too. good luck you bold, brave, stubborn, and smart lady! -ash 🙂

  5. Spread the word

    No Laurie- its okay. Ranting is good.
    For one thing it gets it all out of your system which is good for your health. For another, your many young fans READ this journal every day.

    Hopefully, they (who read this) will talk about this to their friends and over the coming years they will be prepared and some of them might actually choose jobs and lives that will STOP this insanity of what our current health care system has become. (or at least start corrective action so that it can change into something that HELPS human beings. (not to mention the OTHER word that we, as a group, are SUPPOSED to be to these guys: CUSTOMERS!!!!)

    Baby boomers are rapidly becoming ‘old hat’ as consumers and health care
    seems to be just sucking up our money without any regard to the responsibilities involved. The neXt generation is now being heavily courted as the next hot group they can suck money from.

    Hopefully by seeing what all of their own parents are going through with THEIR parents these days, the neXt generation will make the changes needed so that things will be easier when THEY hit THEIR seventies.
    (2056 isn’t that far away folks)

    Thanks for slapping it on the table Laurie. It needs to be done.

  6. Spread the word

    No Laurie- its okay. Ranting is good.
    For one thing it gets it all out of your system which is good for your health. For another, your many young fans READ this journal every day.

    Hopefully, they (who read this) will talk about this to their friends and over the coming years they will be prepared and some of them might actually choose jobs and lives that will STOP this insanity of what our current health care system has become. (or at least start corrective action so that it can change into something that HELPS human beings. (not to mention the OTHER word that we, as a group, are SUPPOSED to be to these guys: CUSTOMERS!!!!)

    Baby boomers are rapidly becoming ‘old hat’ as consumers and health care
    seems to be just sucking up our money without any regard to the responsibilities involved. The neXt generation is now being heavily courted as the next hot group they can suck money from.

    Hopefully by seeing what all of their own parents are going through with THEIR parents these days, the neXt generation will make the changes needed so that things will be easier when THEY hit THEIR seventies.
    (2056 isn’t that far away folks)

    Thanks for slapping it on the table Laurie. It needs to be done.

  7. Paperback Prom

    I am definitely going to buy Prom asaP! paperbacks are always much easier to read and carry around with me. I have Speak(rereading now) and catalyst.
    Good luck with the insurance issues…

    Eileen

  8. Paperback Prom

    I am definitely going to buy Prom asaP! paperbacks are always much easier to read and carry around with me. I have Speak(rereading now) and catalyst.
    Good luck with the insurance issues…

    Eileen

  9. UGH!!
    If THE Evil EMpire is in Florida, I would contact and register a complaint to the Florida State Attorney Generals office and the Better Business Bureau.

    When my mother was sick, I just kept saying, How do these old people who have no one do this?? It is so confusing. I think it’s confusing on purpose!!

    Two years AFTER my mother died we received a report THAT SHE PASSED HER PHYSICAL!!!!!!!
    I believe that doctor was bilking the insurance company!! WE reported it, but it still makes me mad.
    Good Luck to you and I am glad your parents have you to help them!
    Laura

  10. UGH!!
    If THE Evil EMpire is in Florida, I would contact and register a complaint to the Florida State Attorney Generals office and the Better Business Bureau.

    When my mother was sick, I just kept saying, How do these old people who have no one do this?? It is so confusing. I think it’s confusing on purpose!!

    Two years AFTER my mother died we received a report THAT SHE PASSED HER PHYSICAL!!!!!!!
    I believe that doctor was bilking the insurance company!! WE reported it, but it still makes me mad.
    Good Luck to you and I am glad your parents have you to help them!
    Laura

  11. Rant away. It’s good to do it.

    I swear, medicare has been doing well, but the legal aspect of it is completely ridiculous.
    Also, companies ARE NOT willing to cooperate. What the hell? I say conspiracy.

    gasgdaiglwqulihueoeahbae;gia;gi;naebkgaldg

    This makes me realize that this world sucks. Utopia won’t do anything, and the reality we live in is completely turning into a wasteland.
    Bah, humbug.

  12. Rant away. It’s good to do it.

    I swear, medicare has been doing well, but the legal aspect of it is completely ridiculous.
    Also, companies ARE NOT willing to cooperate. What the hell? I say conspiracy.

    gasgdaiglwqulihueoeahbae;gia;gi;naebkgaldg

    This makes me realize that this world sucks. Utopia won’t do anything, and the reality we live in is completely turning into a wasteland.
    Bah, humbug.

    1. I don’t think it is turning into a wasteland. I think that there have always been nasty, greedy, ignorant people. It’s just that they can operate on a larger scale now.

      We will create small groups of people of integrity who like books and other good things. And they will never defeat us!

  13. geez

    Congratulations on taking a dive into the sludge that is governmental bureaucracy. If enough people like you are sincerely pissed off about this, and if enough people are willing to fight the political status quo to actually change things, maybe future generations stand a chance. Otherwise we will all be put through the Old People Mill and spit out without our dignity… can’t wait…

  14. geez

    Congratulations on taking a dive into the sludge that is governmental bureaucracy. If enough people like you are sincerely pissed off about this, and if enough people are willing to fight the political status quo to actually change things, maybe future generations stand a chance. Otherwise we will all be put through the Old People Mill and spit out without our dignity… can’t wait…

  15. I don’t think it is turning into a wasteland. I think that there have always been nasty, greedy, ignorant people. It’s just that they can operate on a larger scale now.

    We will create small groups of people of integrity who like books and other good things. And they will never defeat us!

  16. Evil Empire

    My husband is (gasp) a hospital CEO in Maine. He shook his head when I read him your “rant” and said that you should do a couple things. I’m not sure if you’ve already done them.

    First since the Evil Empire refuses to pick up their phone, you should send them a registered letter detailing the complaint, the issue and with copies of the documents your parents initially received from them. Make sure that the letter you send has a certificate of receipt involved so that you can prove they received it.

    Also, you should contact your mother’s former employer’s human resources department where the insurance was issued through. That way they can know the problems that are involved with that provider and rethink their business relationship with them and/or file a complaint on your mother’s behalf.

    Finally, he was rather shocked that the Evil Empire refused to continue to cover them once they moved out of state. This is rare, but legal if there was a clause concerning this in the original insurance agreement. He said most employers try to avoid companies with that clause. It is different, somehow, if the Evil Empire states in its contract that it only works with hospitals with an Evil Empire affiliation and all those hospitals are in Florida.

    I don’t know if this made any sense. I’m not a health care person, just trying to be a writer.

    Good luck to you and your parents and if you want to contact my husband directly, just let me know. He hates when this stuff happens.

  17. Evil Empire

    My husband is (gasp) a hospital CEO in Maine. He shook his head when I read him your “rant” and said that you should do a couple things. I’m not sure if you’ve already done them.

    First since the Evil Empire refuses to pick up their phone, you should send them a registered letter detailing the complaint, the issue and with copies of the documents your parents initially received from them. Make sure that the letter you send has a certificate of receipt involved so that you can prove they received it.

    Also, you should contact your mother’s former employer’s human resources department where the insurance was issued through. That way they can know the problems that are involved with that provider and rethink their business relationship with them and/or file a complaint on your mother’s behalf.

    Finally, he was rather shocked that the Evil Empire refused to continue to cover them once they moved out of state. This is rare, but legal if there was a clause concerning this in the original insurance agreement. He said most employers try to avoid companies with that clause. It is different, somehow, if the Evil Empire states in its contract that it only works with hospitals with an Evil Empire affiliation and all those hospitals are in Florida.

    I don’t know if this made any sense. I’m not a health care person, just trying to be a writer.

    Good luck to you and your parents and if you want to contact my husband directly, just let me know. He hates when this stuff happens.

  18. Medicare

    I know exactly how you feel. I watched as my parents went around and around with medicare for my grandmother suffering from breast cancer and my other grandmother who suffered a severe stroke. I am now watching as my mother-in-law is beginning her battle for her father’s medical bills for his Parkinsons. I am hopeful that one day our elected officials will realize how demeaning this treatment is to the elderly. My grandmother, with cancer, used to cry herself to sleep over the bills. My grandparents were never wealthy but they always paid their bills and the mix-ups and run around caused her to be turned over to collection agencies. I have written letters and never received action, so maybe I will join you in front of the Evil Empire. DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!

  19. Medicare

    I know exactly how you feel. I watched as my parents went around and around with medicare for my grandmother suffering from breast cancer and my other grandmother who suffered a severe stroke. I am now watching as my mother-in-law is beginning her battle for her father’s medical bills for his Parkinsons. I am hopeful that one day our elected officials will realize how demeaning this treatment is to the elderly. My grandmother, with cancer, used to cry herself to sleep over the bills. My grandparents were never wealthy but they always paid their bills and the mix-ups and run around caused her to be turned over to collection agencies. I have written letters and never received action, so maybe I will join you in front of the Evil Empire. DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!

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