I have just read a great post by my fellow friend Luis related to the over-commercialized health care system in the US. Saying that I agree with each of his words would be even an understatement. Especially statistics he used – it is just killing! Health care system in US, manipulated by parasitic health insurance companies, health care corporations and pharmaceuticals, is outrageously commercial. First time I discovered the ugly part of this system while watching brilliantly tragic “Sicko” by Michael Moore – I recommend it for everyone’s viewing. And as a side remarks, personally I hold very high regards for Mr. Moore’s work and his complete demystification of so called “American Dream”.

But back to the issue at hand. For us, Fellows, health care is even more important, since we are on a very limited health insurance coverage over here. A list of “not-covered” activities is tenfold compared to what is covered – and even thinking that we are more or less secure here would be a very false assumption. I am used to joke that the only significant expense covered by our insurance would be “repatriation of remains”.

I recently had an unpleasant encounter with health care services over here although, thank goodness, it was a very light one. I decided to share my experience hoping it might be useful for fellows facing similar problem.

So, I am wearing contact lenses. Before arrival I was warned to have with me lenses enough for a year, and so dutifully I did. However, after extension of my fellowship up to 18 months I ran out of my lenses supply. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to buy new one – I knew all necessary technical parameters. How wrong I was! Apparently, I was unable to buy it without doctor’s prescription, which I was required to upload to the amazon in order to complete the deal. I knew that the lenses were not covered by our insurance, so I was ready to pay for it. But guess what – getting a prescription for lenses is not covered either! I don’t know how much it would have costed me to get a prescription even in the cheapest way – at Walmart or Target – but probably it would be something exceeding $50. That would top up my contact lenses bill to far more than $100. Which clearly wasn’t something I would be ready or willing to pay.

Therefore, I ordered my lenses (same pack for 3 month) online from the UK-based retailer. No prescription needed, a very simple purchase, easy-peasy. God save the Queen, Internet and British NHS (National Healthcare System)! My lenses arrived within a week. The whole transaction, including fee for foreign currency exchange and international delivery, costed me around $60. Go figure!

And the best part of it? On the package of lenses bought&delivered from a UK-based provider there was a proud labeling: Made in USA. I found it highly amusing and ironic.