March 2013

It is painful to look at the job prospects of recent college and high-school graduates trying to find meaningful employment these days.  There are thousands if not millions of college educated young people saddled with thousands of dollars of debt working for minimal compensation, heck, you may know some of them, like one of your grandkids.  One of your grandkids may be a recent high school graduate wondering if going on to college is worth it. 

Worth it as in what advantage will they have by earning a college degree other than mountains of debt?  Now some of us i.e. boomers, may have been fortunate enough to pay for the educational expenses of our kids, and they in turn may have been able to have done likewise.  Even with that, how many of your kids or grandkids are working as barista’s at the local coffee shop wondering about the value of their recently minted BA or BS, or even an MBA.

Here is an option I think is worth consideration. The US Military.  There are meaningful careers or career starters available in the military.  Not everyone who joins the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps will be thrust into harm’s way.  You learn leadership and people skills, discipline, full medical benefits, the list goes on.  If young Johnny or Joanie are college educated, they may quality for Officer Candidate School, the pathway to being an Officer.  If Johnny or Joanie are high school graduates looking to their future, life as an enlisted man can be equally satisfying.  After a four or six year tour, the GI Bill guarantees accrued educational and other benefits once they leave the military.  Plus the various branches can provide job skills that can translate into real jobs after their service.

Let me share with you my story.  I spent a not so successful year at college after high-school.  This was back in the days when there was a draft.  In high-school I joined the US Naval Reserve.  When I (and my dad) signed that contract, it came with a two year obligation of active duty, plus I could extend that tour by going to a Naval Class A school.  The school I chose and qualified for was a 28 week Electronics Technician School Class A at the US Naval Training Station at Great Lakes, IL.  That school was absolutely amazing.  It was total immersion into the magical world of making electrons do mystifying things.  Upon completion ET School, I spent the next two years on-board the destroyer USS Forrest Sherman maintaining and repairing the ship’s radio gear.  After my stint in the Navy, I had earned enough money from the GI Bill to complete my education (along with the ability to buy a house without a down payment).  Along with that I got to see so much of the world plus make life-long friends.

That’s my story and suggestion.  Military service can help kick-start the career or become a career for your kid and grandkid who is stuck in job-limbo facing an uncertain future.

Do you have a story you want to share?  Our readers would be like to read about it.

Remember, it’s rChance to Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way.

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Prescription Alert!  Recently I had a prescription emergency, which resulted in not being able to refill a long-used medication, which I learned only when I arrived to pick it up……..  The druggist was told that it was not covered anymore, due to the Medicare cuts which started on January 1st of this year.  I was stunned and when I called from the drug store to my Medicare Supplement insurance provider, they said that the FDA had decided (?) to not allow any woman over age 65 to take this medication and therefore, they could not pay any part of the prescription for me, although my Doctor had prescribed it. 

So I was cut off and not notified in any way – until I stood at the counter and tried to get the refill of the drug.  HOWEVER – I could still get the drug if I wanted to pay for it myself – this meant the cost would be $145. to me instead of $35.  This is just a taste of what the Medicare “cuts” mean to us over age 65.  I spent the next few days on the phone with the Medicare Supplement provider, visiting my Doctor (thank God for my Doctor!) and she helped me file an appeal, which two weeks later, has just been granted. 

What does this mean to rChance readers?  We all need to save money where we can, and prescriptions are one of the most difficult expenses to track and budget for, as many of the costs are outrageous, but there are options for us now – here is my best so far - on the computer, go to:  www.GoodRx.com

An entry screen will come up and you can key-enter any drug name that you would like to compare prices on, plus your zip code.  The screen is great, easy entry and print large enough to read.  That is all you have to enter, no personal information is required or asked for.  When you hit Enter, the results will come up and give a default choice for the form and dosages of the drug, but all dosages are listed.  If your dosage is not the default, you can choose the one you need and hit Enter again. 

The prices will come up for all the drug providers in your zip code area.  The locations in your zip code area will be shown and you can choose the provider, then hitting Enter brings up the screen that tells what the vendor pricing detail is and I hit ‘Get Coupon’ which brings up a coupon to be printed.  To confirm the price to the provider, I printed the coupon to take to the store, and called the provider to check the cash price of the drug.  The only thing I had left to do is wait for the Doctor’s office to open on Monday so they could fax the prescription to the best-price provider I chose.  And you can print, text or email the coupon to the pharmacy.

What was the pricing result for me?  The first prescription I entered was close to half (!) of what I paid previously.  The next one was also half and if I was willing to take a generic, the price was $4.00.  How about that? 

My rChance Lessons Learned here are: 

  1. Anyone can phone any pharmacy and find out the cash price for any drug. 
  2. I calculated what my Medicare Supplement would pay to get the final cost.  My part was about half of previous costs.  Hurrah!

The final result for me on this subject is that I got two prescriptions for about half of previous prices and one more at a different provider – also for about half of what I have paid – for YEARS.  Wish I had known about this sooner – a lot sooner! 

The prescription provider said that my Medicare Supplement insurance was just as good as using the coupon, but since I had the coupon, I knew the cash price that my insurance used to calculate the final price to me – I couldn’t be fooled and I would know if it was wrong.

The Goodrx.com site also works for anyone who does not have Medicare Supplement  insurance of any kind.  So either way (insurance or not!) you can get some benefit.

One of our guiding thoughts at rChance is to help our age group help each other.  And we can do it!  I followed this process through the result of getting my prescriptions at the best price possible – and so can YOU.

When updates for this topic are published on the rChance website, we will post them as updates on facebook and Twitter also – so keep watching and saving money on www.rChance.com

Remember, It’s rChance to Live and Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way!

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