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Rosie Right

Our language and how it works.


Foreign Territory

Thanks to the bureaucracy of the state of Virginia, those of us older than 65 now have a chance to learn a whole new language. It may not have been what we wanted to include in our New Year's resolutions, but we were not given a real choice.

The Virginia Department of Human Resource Management has moved all retired state employees who had prescription drug coverage to a plan the state selected — no matter that many of us were satisfied where we were. In addition to new procedures, here are some of the new words and phrases we must learn:

Tier 1 medicine — this, they tell us, means generic drugs.

Tier 2 medicine — now preferred brand drugs.

Tier 3 (75 percent coinsurance) and Tier 5 (25 percent coinsurance).

Formulary — "the list of drugs covered under the plan" — and non-formulary drugs.

CMS — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that runs the Medicare program.

Good luck to all of us who must learn Medicare "YOURx Plan" language and customs.

Word Winners for 2005

ABC reported that "When actor Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah's couch to express how much he cared about Katie Holmes, the term 'jump the couch' was born.

"And now it has been named the slang of the year by the Historical Dictionary of American Slang. The dictionary defines 'jump the couch' as exhibiting strange or frenetic behavior."

The American Dialect Society has voted truthiness as its word of the year. It derives from a fake news program on the Comedy Channel and "refers to the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts of facts known to be true." Runners-up were Katrina — "all Katrina-related words" — and podcast, "a digital feed containing audio or video files for downloading."


From reader Wayne Kitsteiner comes a justified reproof. In Style's Jan 4 story about the plan to open Larus Park came this unfortunate misplaced modifier:

"Long overgrown and inaccessible, city workers ..."

It might be fun to see those workers.

Let Rosie hear from you by mail (Style Weekly, 1707 Summit Ave., Richmond, 23230); by e-mail rozanne.epps@styleweekly.com; or by telephone (804-358-0825).

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