Thursday, October 21, 2010

Responsible Blogging

Yesterday, while at work I was pouring over an extremely long Decision, and a friend of mine (also a lawyer and belonging to the same office) called my attention over a Manifestation that cited a Civil Service law/jurisprudence from a blog.  I was surprised, certainly, since the one who wrote the blog was a colleague of mine from my former office.

I went to look at the blog and found out that he clearly stated in the title of the blog itself that it is unofficial, but the lawyer who saw the said blog site conveniently forgot to state that in his pleading.  Very unethical if you ask me, but it lead me to thinking about my blog and instances when I have interpreted the law.  While I cite the law, in some instances, there was one blog post that I endeavored to interpret the law.  This was different from other blog posts, which although they dealt with the Law, I cited the source and was careful to quote it verbatim. So I already deleted that one blog post that I interpreted the law.

My job now primarily revolves around giving legal opinion, and I have gotten more cautious about it.  I have been burned before, one when I was too eager to please someone or one when I was thinking this is how so-and-so would want me to render this opinion.  And I have realized in the end the ultimate responsibility falls on the person whose signature is on the paper.

So now I digress, the simple lesson I learned from my friends experience is to be careful in blogging or giving out my opinions even in comments on other blog sites.  Opinion is cheap but the price it would cost the fool hardy person who follows you is not worth the momentary elation you got from thinking you were so smart.

So now I will endeavor to write my disclaimer soon...  In the meantime, I reiterate Caveat Emptor.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Health Woes ... Again!

After about a month of my husband's stomach problems, even after having gone to the doctor for antibiotics. We are on the look-out again for a better doctor.  It is not that we distrust our present doctor, maybe it is just because she doesn't seem to feel the same urgency I feel right now -- that there must be something else that can be done other than to wait.  Although she did say that the next step may be an IV drip so that my husband can get the antibiotic intravenously.  And now I am beginning to think about how much it would cost us for the hospitalization.

The problem is, my husband has no money apart from his pension and most of it is eaten up on living expenses and medication (P8,000 worth monthly on maintenance medicines), so certainly he does not have money extra for hospitalization.  He has money tied up in the US on his 401 K and private pension, but how soon will it even be possible to get to them.  Ultimately I will need to come up with the money in the mean time.  It would set me back by a few thousand pesos and if the ailment is as bad as my worst-case scenario, ultimately, not even I may be able to afford it.  I would need to bring him to the US or I hope the US immigration will let me.

But I know it is better to address it now, while the symptoms are just fresh.  I would just have to accept the reality that it has to be done.

Considering that I have a health plan that covers me for P80,000, the office can cover me for P60,000 and I even have a half million critical illness insurance, how I wish it is remotely possible to transfer all these benefits to him, for him to enjoy.  But sadly I can't.. and I can only hope we can address his problems before they get worse.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Health Concerns .. The Continuing Saga

Being into around nine months in my husband's stay in the Philippines, the MAJOR (MAJOR) concern is still and will always be his health.  Now don't get me wrong, my husband is not disabled, or incapacitated in any way, but he certainly has health issues that require constant monitoring, and thus an equivalent allocation in expenditure.

As you know, a few months ago, I attempted to get my husband into my health plan.  I was fully aware that most of his pre-existing conditions would not be covered (i.e. he had a nephrectomy because of renal carcinoma around 1992, a back surgery, and a high blood pressure).  These are things I am fully aware of, but my only purpose in getting him into my health plan was to ensure that any other medical conditions brought about by his stay in a new land, can be addressed if it ever happens.  I wanted to be able to ensure that he is well taken cared of if let's say he contracts dengue, meets into a traffic accident, etc.  But apparently, because of old-time pre-existing conditions (his nephrectomy is more than 20 years old!), he was declined by my health plan. 

I really get irritated with health insurance, they always want to insure those who hardly need it.  I for one have had my present health plan for the last six years, and I have never once gotten hospitalized.  They wouldn't even cover pregnancy if I ever should get pregnant.  Honestly, their declining my husband is really what I just needed to look for another health plan that would offer better coverage for myself, and will allow coverage for my husband even to a limited extent.

With all these health concerns, I always adhere to the maxim that prevention is better than cure, thus, we spend on whatever diagnostic procedure is required to ensure that all his health conditions are well-monitored.  Which brings to mind the necessity of budgeting for diagnostic procedures and medicines apart from the maintenance medicines.  Since my husband has no medical coverage, there is also a need to have emergency medical money to cover for medical expenses.  My estimate is the safe amount would be around P100,000.  They would cover for any emergency medical expense but would certainly not cover such things as a heart bypass which I heard would cost from half a million to one million pesos, depending on the hospital you want to have the operation in.

Another matter that has come to my attention, is the excessive sugar in the Filipino diet.  My husband doesn't have a high blood sugar, but since he lived here, his blood sugar has gotten slightly elevated.  I think it is primarily due to most of the Filipino food products containing sugar.  Although my husband carefully reads the ingredients in anything he buys, apparently some of the information in the products are misleading.  I guess you can say there isn't really any truth in advertising here! :p

At present we are working on getting a colonoscopy.  But we have had to wait until his colon relaxes (he is in a liquid or easily-soluble diet for a few days) and the inflammation subsides.  

In this regard, I am beginning to think we have to seriously think about going back to the U.S., if only to ensure that he would get some form of assistance for his medical conditions.  

P.S. On the VA health plan, unfortunately only his service-connected disability is covered.  Non-service connected health concerns are not covered in the Philippine VA centers.