Why COBRA sucks Part 3

I’m getting ready to write a $2,000 check and I have to confess that I am more than a little bitter. This will be the fourth one I’ve written this year for COBRA coverage which is “supposed to” be continuation of benefits after losing a job ( I say supposed to because you get dumped off a plan immediately and then have to go back and chase an insurance company for months to recover the cost of your healthcare expenses that incurred when you were in the black hole waiting for them to get your payment and turn your benefits back on. It is complete and utter crap.)

At the start of the year, we paid $6,000 in COBRA payments waiting for benefits at my new job to kick in. Since I lost my job in August, we are making one more $2,000 payment until our new benefits begin in October. We aren’t making the payment because we actually used the insurance in September (we paid cash for all our prescriptions and cancelled all doctor’s visits). We are making the payment so we have what they call in the insurance world as “continuous coverage” so when we get our new insurance they can’t say we have preexisting conditions and they will cover us. We are paying for the right to have health coverage moving forward.

I’ve been very vocal in the past that I think we have major issues with our health care system and this is yet another example of why we need solutions.  What if I hadn’t been in the insurance industry to know about continuous coverage (most people aren’t educated on those types of issues)? I’m sure there are thousands of people every year that lose jobs, can’t afford the premiums and pay out of pocket for months not knowing that they’ve now affected their insurability in the future. And, guess when they find out? When they get the bill from the doctor for a service they thought would be covered (they have group coverage, right?) and the insurance company declines to pay. Crap.

I am lucky. I can pay the premium and I know how the rules work. But, there are lots of others who don’t and make the fatal mistake I’ve illustrated above. Or, they can’t afford to pay at all and they go without insurance for an extended period of time. We need health care reform. Badly. I am done ranting. For now.

 

iPhone 5? Just say no

Rosie and I were in Target this week looking at Lego’s when the perfect blonde mother of four planted her brood at the end of the aisle to find a birthday present for a friend. Immediately, each child began to reach for the nearest toy that caught their eye and in less than a minute a small riot started in front of the Barbies. Three of her girls were begging and pleading for their own brand spanking new toy. The mom, she just ignored them. Rosie, her jaw dropped and she just stared in amazement.

“Wow. That poor mom,” she said. “Her kids are out of control. How come she just didn’t tell them no?”

I couldn’t speak for her as I only have one kid to tug on my purse strings but I do know that those are difficult words to utter over and over. One of the biggest challenges as a parent is dealing with the “gimmes” and “I gotta haves” especially when trying to raise financially responsible kids post-recession. It’s hard enough to teach kids the concept that they can’t buy everything they want. And, it’s harder still to explain that you can’t afford all the gadgets and gizmos out there. Advancements in technology have not helped to curb kids shopping habits (and yes, I am talking about the big kids too). I blame all of this on Apple.

There it is in all it’s glory!

Today Apple is most likely announcing the iPhone 5. Since they just came out with the 4S a few months ago, I’m trying to figure out why they needed to perfect a phone that was touted as “the most amazing iPhone yet.” And, for all of us who weren’t sure it was that great, all we had to do was ask Siri. She’d tell us.

I am not one of the lucky ones to be blessed with an iPhone, but my hubby is. And, his Siri, spoke to Rosie first as she knew about the feature from commercials and when she found out that her Daddy wasn’t as savvy, she grabbed his phone to show him how cool Siri could be.  Remember the genie in the bottle? That’s Siri. Once Rosie spoke to her she was her master. So any time the K-man attempts to text via voice through Siri, it doesn’t work. It’s a worthless feature.

Because Rosie witnessed that first-hand, she may be one of the first to be sucked into the media hype behind the iPhone 5. After all, if adults need to get a new phone every few months (or even year) to keep up with all the amazing enhancements, shouldn’t kids? The answer quite frankly is no.

No one really needs an iPhone 5 as their old phones are perfectly fine. But Apple is a master at making everyone think they need one and they create the marketing madness behind why everyone has to buy one. They are masters at creating demand for non-essential items. And, we all get sucked into the media hype- adults and kids alike.

As parents, if we want our kids to stop begging for every little thing at the store, we have to stop buying every little thing that we desire. We have to learn how to say no to ourselves and use those examples to teach our kids restraint. Otherwise, we are going to raise an entire generation that is only satisfied with the biggest and brightest searching for instant gratification.

How do you teach your children that they can’t have everything they want?

Man, I need a job

It’s been three weeks and  three days that I’ve been without a job. I’ve cleaned everything that I want to (Sadly, I have no desire to clean either of our fridges. I keep hoping that they will magically clean themselves before I go back to work). And, I’ve discovered that I do remember how to cook using the oven (not the microwave) with fresh ingredients using a recipe. I’ve even taught Rosie how to make sugar cookies and lasagna so I’m storing up mother of the year points for a time when I have another epic fail.

So I cheated a little and used sauce from a jar….

In less than a month, I’ve cleaned out every closet. Thrown or given away half the contents of the basement. And, I’m starting to eyeball the garage and wonder if a giant tool sale might solve the problem of how we’re going to make our $2,000 COBRA payment (of course, my hubby would probably leave me since he thinks he needs 20 hammers, but that’s another blog).

Since I’m not wired to be a housewife, I am officially stir crazy. Especially since I’ve worked forever and still been able to keep a relatively clean home where everyone has clean clothes and hot food even if it’s frozen. With not a lot of free time, I’ve conditioned myself to use every moment of free time to get all the other jobs done (or in fat times, to pay someone else to help). So, I’m not used to down time. It makes me crazy.

A normal person might look at unemployment as an opportunity to relax, read some great books and catch up on all the soaps. I look at it as a little bit of torture. Especially since I am so close to getting another position and I am already making plans for when that happens. Sick, but I’m making lists of who to call.

So, how to stay busy. I’m making another list. Paint Rosie’s bathroom. Stain the fence. Get the clothes ready for the big consignment sale. Get a job….

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