Dear Mary: I read your column in Woman's Day magazine about warehouse clubs. In it, you said pharmacies at warehouse clubs offer prescriptions at discounts and, by law, must be open to nonmembers, too. Does that mean I can drop off my prescription without a membership, or do I have to get the one-day pass and end up paying extra?
- Jim, email
Dear Jim: Membership is not required by law for full access to Sam's Club and Costco pharmacies.
Tell the store employee that you are there to use the pharmacy. You will not be required to pay any nonmember surcharges or fees. You can pay for your medications at the pharmacy instead of going through the regular checkout lines, if you desire. For more information on Sam's Club and Costco pharmacies, check out their websites.
Dear Mary: My husband is 65, and we need to figure out his health care options. Right now, he is covered by my insurance at work, but it is very expensive. How do I determine the most cost-effective supplemental plans? Does he have to call each provider? Is there a resource that will help us get the biggest bang for our buck?
- Mary, California
Dear Mary: Go to Medicare.gov, a comprehensive website that is easy to navigate and understand. You will learn what benefits your husband qualifies for now that he is 65. You'll learn what Part A covers, what the premium is for that, why he needs a Part B policy (Medigap), what is available
Dear Mary: Cascade dishwasher detergent isn't doing its job now that they have taken out the phosphates. A friend told me to add TSP (trisodium phosphate) to our dishwasher detergent to make it as good as the old Cascade. Is TSP is safe to use on dishes? My friend uses one part dishwasher detergent to one part TSP.
- Mary Beth, email
Dear Mary Beth: Responding to laws that went into effect in 17 states in 2010, the nation's detergent makers reformulated their products to reduce what had been the crucial ingredient, phosphates, to just a trace. That's when Procter & Gamble added a low-phosphate version to its Cascade product lineup. You must live in one of those 17 states.
But good news. You can still get the original Cascade Dishwasher Powder online where it is sold as a commercial product. Among sites that sell the original Cascade, Amazon sells single boxes, double packs and cases of multiples. The prices are reasonable - all cheaper than Cascade sold in discount stores and warehouse clubs.
I'm hesitant to recommend that you supplement with TSP, something I have not tried.
TSP is formulated for industrial cleaning, not for dishwashers. While it might work, my fear is that it would chemically react and over time permanently etch dishes and glassware.