Tuesday, December 4, 2012



    I am still running on some of my pills for pain and blood pressure left over from my week in the hospital up here in Miami.  I'm counting down the pills.  Got five days left supply in two bottles.  Had to get a new supply of the pain pills.,  Got a prescription from the specialist doctor in a hospital we visited the other day,. which cost basically $90 usa for the doctor and then the pills cost another $100,  Not sure how many they are?
   I tried to skip two of my pill bottles yesterday to stretch them out.  Had a helluva bad night for pain and this morning. ( Level 5 out of 10 )  Bad idea that..   The trouble was the doctor said; he could not give me prescriptions for two other pills I'm running low on.  It wasn't in his speciality.  He was not allowed to.
  I'm doing the rough financial math and four pills would cost be about $400 usa a week. Not including the extortion racket they run here with doctors writing prescriptions, or referring you to other doctors claiming specialities, that build up the money flow in the medical business around here. That is more money than my wife and I have as combined income on a monthly basis.  There is no way in HELL we can afford medicine in the USA.  We are officially below the poverty line for joint income, both in Belize and in the USA.
  Belize, like most Latin and Caribbean countries, imports GENERICS and most of the generics come from countries like Lithuiania, or Sri Lanka, Turkey and other odd ball places in the world.  Usually they also only contain the ACTIVE INGREDIENT only.  Compared to the USA this makes them modestly expensive to local wages and cost of living.  But nothing like the USA medicine costs.  It's amazing how many of the heavily touted advertised USA drugs are basically humbug, with doubtful statistics when you read up on them.  In the meantime.  I'm to do a STATE MEDICAID phone interview today.  See if I could acquire financial assistance for the future should it become necessary.,  Tomorrow we fly out of here back to Belize if possible.  To start CHEMO in Dangriga CANCER CLINIC, either end of week, or first day next week ? First thing on arrival is to go to drug store and renew the two bottles of pills I need replacements for. CAN'T TAKE THIS CONSTANT PAIN THINGY.
  If your old and sick, you need Medicare A,B and C in the USA.  Or you need MEDICAID which pays everything for older people, if you qualify. Which I don't.  Our below poverty level income flow is $70 usa a month over the level to qualify for Medicaid.
  Anyway just ruminating on the different costs for Belizeans and those with dual nationality that can access MEDICARE and or MEDICAID in old age. Or those who do not, and our SOCIALIST SYSTEM OF HEALTH CARE IN BELIZE., In my case for medical costs, BELIZE beats the USA hands down. NO CONTEST ! I wonder how the medical care costs are in Vienna where one of my daughter's has just moved to?

An opposing view from my oldest daughter.

 The cost of pills & medical care for the average belizean on average salary is still extremely expensive same as the US.  It may be inexpensive for an expat living in Belize with income from outside of Belize but not so for a belizean person who does not have such an income. Moreover, the belize health system is good for minor cuts & bruises but not much else.  One example is that you could  never in 1 1/2 yrs get a biopsy & results done there, you can't get radiation done there, open heart surgery is not available or done on a consistent basis there etc.-they lack the training, equipment and medicines needed. Much as you malign the USA, it it still the best place to get advanced medical services such as your biopsy and ct & PET scans and the appropriate medicines needed. Even the Belize prime minister's wife receives her breast cancer treatment at Baptist Hospital -Miami same as you did and does not have faith in the Belize sysem for a cure. If you want to survive an advanced illness in Belize you need to leave the country and seek treatment elsewhere otherwise you most likely will die there from lack of services.  There are pros and cons to each system.  I would much rather take my chances at great expense to get the proper care in a US hospital than to have cheap/inexpensive bungled up care where due to lack of training and equipment and procedures they can't tell what you have and misdiagnose you until you die. Over the counter pain pill cheap access does not cure an illness either, it just masks the symptoms of  disease.  Pretty scary that anyone can get a hold of any drugs so easily. That may also be one of the reasons the country is blacklisted as a drug haven.

I recall when we brought a boat down to Bze, must have been around '95, we stayed longer than we had planned and one of the fellows ran out of his meds. He was on three meds(have no idea what they were), but he was able to fill them at the Brodies pharmacy(I think it was). He would get a 30 day supply here, there they gave him a 90 day supply(same pills, not a different brand), for about 1/2(in Bze dollars) of the monthly $$ here.
Bze Kobuh,

That is very useful information Cindy.  I'm passing it on to my daughter Sharon.  I'm too damned sick myself to deal with a bureaucracy.

From: "cruzbelize@aol.com"
To: bzekobuh-list@yahoo.com; bz-culture@psg.com
Sent: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 6:23 PM
Subject: Re: Bz-Culture: from: Belize Western Hapopenings blogspot.com

Ray, do you qualify for a Medicaid deductible or "spend down" as it is called in some states?   You have a monthly deductible that is usually the same amount as the over income limit amount...in your case $70 per month.  Once you have $70 in out of pocket medical bills you turn them into your caseworker and they enter the medical payment you incurred into the computer system.  Medicaid covers most  anything over the $70 once the caseworker enters the verification in the computer, if the charges are Medicaid eligible.   Most of my clients fill their prescriptions on the first of every month, choosing the scrips that are closest to the deductible to fill first. 
Another option:  Check the websites for Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart and Sam's Club.  Most of them have free or low cost formularies.  See if any of your medications are available under their programs.  If not, take the lists to your physicians and ask if there is an appropriate substitute on that list.  In my area the medications that are on list are usually $4.00 for a one month supply.
Alternatively, most drug companies have a Patient Assistance Program that supplies medications.  You can google Patient Assistance program for (name of medication) to see what is out there.
If there is a Senior Center near you they sometimes have staff persons that can help you find resources and some of them even have DHS caseworkers assigned to them
I am posting this to the list, the info may help someone else. Feel free to contact me offlist if necessary.  Medicaid eligibility policy may vary from state to state.


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