Everyday we go through our lives purchasing some small convenience or another. For many it’s the morning Grande White Mocha  from the local Starbucks or Boston Creme donut, etc.  As we go through our day we make our transaction and receive our change. Occasionally, we fall short by just a few cents. We look down at the counter and there in a small rectangular dish is the our salvation. This redeemer often has some teenager’s handwriting in black sharpie that reads “TAKE A PENNY, LEAVE A PENNY!” We naturally gather up the needed coins and to finish our purchase and go about with our sugary goodness, quite content with our fortune.

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image courtesy of: http://www.riseoverrunmag.com/images/1108.jpg

This type of action takes place everyday countless times and we generally don’t think much of the value of those tiny “copper” coins, because they are so the lowest part of the American currency ladder, so much so, that the United States’ government was actually thinking of discontinuing them, because they’ve become more expensive to make then the coin is actually worth. Here’s the USA Today article that discusses the possible dismissal of the Penny: Penny Value

However, today’s post doesn’t deal with the day-to-day interactions and the use of the penny, but more importantly the power that the penny actually possesses. Recently the penny actually went so far as to prevent a cancer patient from receiving the benefits of her medical coverage.  This woman La Rosa Carrington, a single mother of two, encountered this problem. The issue was that her medical provider Discovery Benefits would not continue her treatments for form of leukemia that requires 5 chemo treatments each week for the course of a month, because she did not pay 1 penny. The interesting part of this is the following: that La Rosa actually went through the process of determining  how much she was responsible for paying in her medical coverage since she had recently lost her job. She had calculated her payment to be roughly $161.15.  Discovery Benefits calculated the payment to come out to $161.16.  The actual math should would have determined it to be 161.1545. 

Now this, is where your math skill should kick in. When you were taught rounding… you didn’t round to the nearest whole number unless that number was a five or above… for example if you had an 89.5% in Math, you hoped your favorite math teacher would round that up to a 90%.

image courtesy of: craigtmonroe.wordpress.com/2009/10/ 

 However, if you were to receive an 89.4% you knew it wasn’t going to be rounded unless you went in and asked for extra credit.

Fortunately, since this story was printed and publicized Ms. Carrington has had her medical coverage reinstated. It still leaves many questions; however, about the medical profession and the pursuit of payment. This article is meant not as a malicious attack on the medical field, but more of an awareness for people undergoing medical treatment and those that are caring for people undergoing medical treatment to be aware and cognizant of the bills that are coming and the payments required.  Hopefully, some steps will be taken to care for those in trouble or financial stress. Furthermore, it goes on to prove that Every “Penny” Counts, not only to help those undergo treatment, but to aid those who are searching for a cure. 

If interested in the reading more about La Rosa Carrington, here is the original article written by the Gazette: Colorado Springs Article.

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