About the Colony

Pay attention to the details, particularly when money’s involved

Lon Allan
Lon Allan jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Nobody would ever say I was a fast starter.

In fact, if life were a track meet, I’d still be tying the final knot in my track shoes when the starter’s gun is fired. It just seems as though I’ve always had a lot of making up to do. I’m often the last in the room to get the joke.

A case in point. Having suffered a mild heart attack about 11 years ago, I was prescribed three drugs to take on a daily basis. I decided I’d better sign up for Medicare Part D, intended to help defray the cost of my medications. I hadn’t signed up during the enrollment period, so right away my premium was slightly higher than it had to be. I mean, until that time I’d taken nothing but aspirin for whatever ailed me.

So began my monthly trip to the pharmacy to get my pills.

And I started to get those little notices you get showing what you paid for your drugs and what the “plan” paid for. Fortunately, the drugs I have been taking aren’t expensive. But over the past year, I had begun noticing that under the “what the plan paid” column, there was a zero.

Much as I hate to use the phone (subject of another column in the future) I called the agency that provided me with my drug plan and asked why it always read zero. The government was taking about $85 a month out of my Social Security check for the MedicareRx Plan.

After waiting forever dialing the “preferred customer” hotline, I talked to a woman who told me I was going to the wrong pharmacy. I told her this was the first time I knew I had to go to a specific pharmacy. I’d gone to at least two different ones over the past decade or so.

She didn’t have an answer about why all of a sudden I was going to the wrong pharmacy for my drugs. More truthfully, I don’t remember what I was told.

She did, however, sign me up with a new plan to provide me with the drugs I needed for the monthly fee of $26.80 but I have to go to the pharmacy they called out to me. I guess that is all worked out on a level I’ll never understand.

The good news is that my monthly income just rose by slightly more than $70, which includes the $5.40 raise I got in Social Security.

So back to the “if life were a track meet” analogy, I’m about half way to the finish line when I realize I’m wearing my golf shoes instead of running cleats.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for five decades and his column appears here every other week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or lonallan39@gmail.com.