How to track down COVID tests using bots
Plus a thank you, in playlist form.
Hey there —
The news about COVID testing just keeps on coming. Catch up with our recent guidance on how to avoid getting ripped off here. What’s ahead are some quick hits, and then a quick note from me:
Still chasing at-home COVID tests? Try a tracking bot.
Certain websites offer services to track in-demand products. So, for instance, most of the products on hotstock’s home page are hot gaming consoles and computer parts…and then there’s the Binax Now COVID test.
If you like, they’ll send you alerts — email, texts, or in some cases you can leave a browser tab open and let it scream at you when something becomes available. Sounds exhausting. And useful. (Ed. note: Hilarious, as this is what I do for hot makeup items also. Embarrassing but true. -G.H.)
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Considering the ER for a COVID test? Please don’t.
With tests hard to find, and wait-times long at some testing sites, some folks are heading to hospital emergency rooms to see if they can get a test quicker.
But getting a test from an emergency room could mean opening yourself up to some wild charges, as we talked about last time.
Now, a long-time Arm and a Leg listener — who works as an emergency-room nurse — gives us another reason: It could backfire, big-time. She writes:
ERs across the nation are overwhelmed again. Many are holding admitted patients in the ER for days. This leaves ER patients (who are having severe symptoms OR just regular ER patients) in the halls in chairs or in the waiting room for hours (some on portable oxygen). It's not pretty.
So, I’m saying this as take-care-of-yourself advice, but it’s also a way to take care of overwhelmed health care workers and anybody who’s in a total medical emergency right now.
Here’s one big shark in the COVID-testing waters (New Yorkers especially beware):
Its name is CareCube.
From New York Magazine: “When it came to COVID testing, CareCube allegedly doubled its profits by taking advantage of loopholes in the law to charge both patients and insurers for the same test, with patients billed after insurers had paid.”
Remember how insurance is supposed to reimburse us for at-home tests?
Here’s a little report on how that’s working out so far…
Wait, I’m supposed to swab my frigging TONSILS now?
Um, maybe. Yeah. Guidance is a little confusing.
I have tried the throat-swab thing in waking life. Can confirm it’s unpleasant.
Finally: THANK YOU
Since we rushed the last First Aid Kit out the door (did you notice we published on Thursday?), we left out a big note of thanks — and a little offering to you:
We wrapped up our year-end fund-raising drive at New Year’s, and so many of you supported us. More than 600 people pitched in, and sent the nicest, nicest notes.
I say we got those notes because I don’t do this by myself. A whole team of people — Daisy Rosario, Marian Wang, Emily Pisacreta, Gabrielle Healy, Izz LaMagdeleine, Bea Bosco and Adam Raymonda — work with me to make the Arm and a Leg podcast and this newsletter.
Some of us got together to talk about how we do that, for a year-end episode that’s a kind of audio thank-you note.
Let me leave you with one more thing.
Having spent the last two months asking people for money — on top of launching this newsletter and making An Arm and a Leg — I’ve been relying heavily on the generosity and patience of family, friends, colleagues, and you.
And I wanted to keep in the right frame of mind.
Here’s that playlist.
In particular, you’ve just got to hear Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude which I discovered and fell in love with, and think about every day. I’m so thankful for it.
It’s about 15 minutes. Pick a time when you’re doing chores, or out for a walk, or running errands, or whatever.
This is likely to be a long year, and I think a lot of us are going to need this kind of medicine.
We’ve all been asked this a lot…but 2022 looks like it’ll be long, and we all might need a little extra. Share what other types of medicine — music, movies, playlists — get you through.
That’s it! We’re back next week.
Take care of yourself.