Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wasted Whining

Thought Number One:  Two New Things That Are Happening (or Not) in the government today.

I consider it such an irony that the very day, that the Healthcare Marketplace is open for business the Federal government is not. (Surely, you all have heard the news that the Federal government is now closed pending the ability of our Congress to work together and pass a budget.) 

For those of you that aren't aware of changes in how Americans are to be insured let me explain.  Starting today, there is a government website that offers various insurance plans for those that are either not insured by their employers, self-employed or uninsured.

As luck would have it,  I and my husband are self-employed.   While it remains to be seen if that is a good thing or a bad thing as far as insurance coverage goes, we currently buy a pricey (AND I MEAN PRICEY) individual  insurance policy to cover us. With that being said, it costs a lot but pays things very well. See there...that's me looking at the positive.   You didn't think I had it in me, did you?

However, I must tell you that I  remain ever hopeful that somewhere on the new Marketplace there is an equal policy that might offer either a financial advantage or a coverage advantage.. Yes, I know that is being OVERLY optimistic.  The funny thing about this "market place" is that no one seems to know much about it.  The Dallas Morning News had a sneak preview of the rates and it looks like for a "middle of the road" plan for my age group it's about $1300.00 a month to get insurance.   I have no idea if that is true or not as I can't get on to the sight yet.

Why?  Because this is what it looks like.

OK...not off to a banner start but I wait...

and wait


and then sure enough...I get a page to fill in all my pertinent information and create a user ID and a passcode.
(even that wasn't easy...symbols, numbers, capital letters, and lower case numbers involved)

Then the next page is security questions.  BUT the security questions are MIA

Care to guess what I do?  Go on take a guess....

Mainly  because I love a challenge, am a glutton for punishment and I  am already tired of this system, I decide to hit:

 I will spare you all the

There were a lot of those before I was told:

Thanks for your interest in the Health Insurance Marketplace.  we have a lot of visitors trying to use the website right now.  That is causing some glitches for some of the people trying to create accounts or log in.  Keep trying and thanks for your patience.  You might have better success during off-peak hours, like later at night or early in the morning.  We'll continue working to improve the site so you can get covered.

Though Number Two:  Must We Continue to Make Everything So Difficult?

Dare I hope that the day will come that politicians will work less on their political ambitions and work more on the well-being on their constituents?

In the meantime...I continue to try to see into the future as to what to do about my insurance.

In lieu of not being able to look at the Marketplace, I am now resorting to Plan B. 

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Debra She Who Seeks said...

I am sad for the USA, very sad. Signed, your smug Canadian friend with free universal healthcare and a functioning government. And yes, taxes too but it's a helluva lot cheaper than those monthly premiums -- yowza!

Chubby Chatterbox said...

No program this large can launch without a few glitches, but these can all be corrected. I'm still wanting Obamacare to work and I'm willing to be patient since the other side just wants to kill it along with Social Security and Medicaid.

Cheryl P. said...

I continue to hope that at some point we get back on track. I definitely think we have to get a handle on the costs associated with medical care here. I keep hoping after this program gets going we will see the benefit. Unfortunately, no one seems to know exactly what it looks like, I hope to have a stronger opinion when I see what the policies cover and what they cost. Time will tell.

Cheryl P. said...

I don't think we have a choice about the waiting part. I don't have a strong opinion on what I think of Obamacare as we still haven't seen the products or the pricing of the insurance or how it is implemented at the medical facilities. My independent plan probably will cost more than the exchange plans...even that I am not sure of. There is just too much that is still unknown and the things I know have a deadline. Hubby and I have until Dec. 15th to buy off the exchange but my current insurance has offered a bit of a reduction if I lock in for a year. I still can't make that determination when I can't see the products available in the marketplace.

What I am saying is NOT that I want this to fail but I want it not to frustrate the piss out of me. My current carrier says they have 11 plans on the exchange but to see those plans I have to go online. Why can't these companies just tell us their products, what they cover and what they cost?

Liggybee said...

I agree...why can't these plans just be made openly available so people can compare plans with one another?

Liggybee said...

When I look at all the benefits of Obamacare, I have to admit that I agree that it's great. I just wish there was a way for the government to implement a nationwide healthcare plan, or affordable plan without financially penalizing those who have legitimate reasons for not wanting it or just simply can't afford it. There can be a lot of complicating factors that make even the subsidized plans not affordable enough. Especially at this time...the economy is drained, jobs are not paying well enough for people to make it on one income alone, and a lot of people I know have already lost their healthcare plans at work because their employers decided it was not worth paying the premiums for anymore. It's really a very complicated situation.

Cheryl P. said...

You used a very good word in reference to this...complicated. That is what it is...very complicated. I think it is too soon to tell what areas have to be tweaked or maybe all of it will come together just as it's supposed to do. The problem right now is that there are deadlines and so many people aren't aware of how this works or what the associated costs are. I did manage to talk to a few people today that saw some of the plans and they were (the ones they were looking at) are more expensive that the individual policies . There's the rub. Some people just can't pay MORE when they couldn't pay the lesser amount before, The tax credits are tied to income but again, I haven't seen the levels as I still can't get onto the site. There's time but I don't want to put it off so long I don't have time to see what all my choices both in the Marketplace and/or from regular insurance companies.

Cheryl P. said...

I do think this is a work in progress that is going to continue to be a quagmire for a long time to come. While I am eager to sort out how to keep good insurance for us, I am saddened to see how many people are being phased out of full time jobs because the insurance has become a burden to the employers. The lower wage earners are also, not mandated to have insurance under a certain earnings tier, so there still is going to be a large number of uninsured. There will be LESS uninsured in theory, though. AND there should be more available plans that they might be able to get such as catastrophic insurance. Back to your point,,,this could take a long time.

I don't think maybe some people are thinking this post is a bright spot...I am so glad you used the word "bright". It lightened my day.

Cheryl P. said...

Ridiculous and scary. Any shut down scares the shit out of me. Every time large groups of people are furloughed every other industry all but stops. The economy is so dependent on home sales (and improvements) car sales, and such that these bouts can turn around some of the hard fought gains we made this past year.

I figured that the web site would be overloaded today but I was hopeful to get an idea how much more I would need to pay to get a policy off the exchange. It looks like it's enough that I will keep private insurance. I can't say for sure as I am only getting price quotes from others that have been on-line.

Cheryl P. said...

I am rather optimistic that the exchange will be up and running in the next few days. Some of the uninsured here in the inner city were allowed to apply today on paper forms. My current insurance is also good till late December but the application isn't a slam dunk on either the exchange or with a regular company. Just for your info, though...my one friend says you can sign in and out of the application process, if you don't get it done in one sitting. (again that's heresay but I trust her to be right)

My current carrier wants me to tell them now if I plan to renew...why I don't know.

Thank you Jayne. drawing keeps my mind off of other things.

Cat Lacemaker said...

Husband and I got up very early, and found that we could get on, but it was achingly slow. That being said, we were happy to find we could get some "reasonably" priced insurance, that, miracle of miracles, includes hearing aides (husband), and dental, (both). Once we get off of our COBRA, it will apply, but we need to sign up. So, we will just have to get up early again, I guess...

Cheryl P. said...

The on-line chat person said that the best times to get on were late at night or early morning. Glad to hear you found some policies. I bet you are glad to get off of COBRA. I had to COBRA once for a few months and it was really high compared to other types of insurance. I am eager to see if there isn't some better coverage than what I have. I have a really good policy but I have to buy a separate policy for dental. It would be nice to have one that includes it.

Riot Kitty said...

Those childish assholes. Now try explaining to my little sister why Mt. Rushmore is CLOSED and her trip is canceled!

I could tell you all about how this will work in Oregon...yada yada. Our exchange was supposed to launch today, and instead of telling us it wasn't going to, they said we could "only have a partial shopping experience." Read: you can't purchase a plan. Oops.

oldereyes said...

Welcome to business with the federal government. In the past year, we have been require to get a computer pass key to log onto accounts that used to use just a password ... at $200 a year ... and learn to submit our invoice through something called the Wide Area Work Flow, for which the consensus among small business owner is that the only way to learn is to do it wrong and let it correct you. And every password is 15 characters with at least on capital and lower case and numeral and special character. And we had to take several course in "cyber awareness" too. I'm not so much against universal health care ... I'm against the government having their hands in it. Yeah, I know ... rant, rant, rant. Good luck.

Cheryl P. said...

HI RK, I am probably even more annoyed about the government shutdown than the "what I deem" to be an unorganized launch of the Affordable Health Care Act. (that word affordable always cracks me up).
I truly believe that we are a nation governed by crisis. Our legislature just goes from one crisis to another passing stop-gap bills because of time constraints. Closing down all non-essential government offices and parks stagnates the economy. Sad that your sister can't go see an awesome monument because of the nonsense happening right now.

As for the launch of the insurance...I still don't get the all or nothing mentality of this.and why are the plans so difficult to access. You would swear we are asking them to show us their underwear, not a list of available insurance plans in any given area.

Cheryl P. said...

If I had your direct email, I would rant right back but I try not to go off on a tangent in the comments, that may or may not give everyone the illusion I have lost my mind.

I feel your pain on the issues you have had in the past. That sounds like the material that nightmares could be made of. To a lesser extent, I have seen some of the fee-driven changes in real estate as well over the last few years. Anything dealing with the FDA or VA process now requires the patience of a saint. Unfortunately for me, my patience is far from the level of future canonization. It's a bad sign when I am annoyed just by typing a password that might look like this...Cq69#rSPmn7&rSTn.

I, too, have less of a problem with some type of health care reform than I do with the implementation of said reform. There have always been some level of bureaucracy involved in both the government and the insurance sectors, I expected that this wasn't going to be without a whole lot of hoop jumping required.

Dexter Klemperer said...

You forgot to mention the shutdown of the Pandacam. I'm sure you wish you lived in Texas where our valiant governor just declared that Obamacare is a criminal act. I think I want to move to Australia. When their parliament shutdown the government in 1975, the head of government fired the prime minister, appointed a new prime minister who promptly fired all of parliament. No shutdowns since. That's a plan I could get behind.


Linda R. said...

Ah...there's always something, isn't there? Now we get to wait and see how it all shakes out.

Cheryl P. said...

OMG...I didn't realize the Pandacam was down. Now I really am freaking out. I clicked over to make sure that the Polar bear cam was working this morning at the Kansas City Zoo just on the outside chance, I need to see an cute furry animal. Although panda babies trump adult polar bears in the category of cuteness.

Did Gov. Perry really say "criminal'? He certainly has a way with words and the ability to stir things up. What's Perry doing in New Jersey, anyway? Isn't there enough going on in Texas that requires his attention?

Maybe a move to Australia is a good solution. Don't they have a pretty decent universal health plan? Maybe we should check into the pros and cons of moving. It would involve selling another house, though and I know how much you enjoyed dual ownership last time.

If this shutdown would result in people losing their jobs, I would think that a lot of Senators and Representatives, need to be shown where the exit door is.

I hadn't heard of the Australia situation in 1975. Interesting, very interesting.

Cheryl P. said...

No truer words..."there's always something!" It is going to be interesting to see how long it takes for the government to be "open" again. I don't understand how all the Senators and Representatives don't understand that they are elected and this isn't making people happy. Unhappy constituents doesn't equate to being re-elected.

Linda R. said...

"Unhappy constituents doesn't equate to being re-elected." Just ask some of the folks in Colorado!

Wendy said...

Cheryl, I had no idea you have so many of my fellow Canadian readers. Are we all this smug about our health care and gov't? Hum...best get back to me on that. Really, I think most of us do treasure our health care, even though it does take quite a chunk of our taxes, and unfortunately, it currently needs 'tweeking' to deal with increasing costs. But, that is all part of the flow. I don't quite know about your US care, or really, why so many people are so upset, because- I guess I couldn't quite figure it all out. It will take time, lots of time, for them to sift out the glitches.
Loved that line " I'm on hold, and I'm not even on a phone". Yep, even if the age of technology, we wait and wait and wait and wait and...yep, especially on gov't sites. Ah well, guess you can set your alarm and get up in the wee wee hours of the morning (really? just to get on their site, are they serious?) but , hey, maybe it will give you some time to do some catch up reading on a few good blogs at the same time!

lisleman said...

Cheryl thanks for this post. I wish more people would take a bit of time to see through the craziness of the extreme right. I have read that there were similar dire warnings when SS (1940's?) and Medicare (1960's) programs were started. The way some carry on you would think they love insurance companies. Big insurance companies can be worst than the government in my opinion. We are planning to get on Obamacare since we are self-unemployed (I think I just found a new phrase/term to start using). I very sure we will find a plan that is better than COBRA which we have been on too long. I have not tried to sign on yet since we are on a short trip (plan a pic or two from it to be posted soon).
If I had a conspiracy mind I would suspect sabotage for the limited operation on the public site.

When the House gets off Cruz control maybe they might find time in between all their recesses to actually modify some parts. Of course Obamacare is not perfect. I don't think there ever has been a perfect act passed by Congress. I agree with you on the craziness of this all or nothing approach.

lisleman said...

Oh one more thing - if the broken ACA site leaves you with extra time - My blog is open and working fine. That's A Few Clowns Short (a non government site not associated with any official government agency, political party, insurance company, or lobby group) I did associate with some punks in the alley once but that was decades ago.

Cheryl P. said...

I love you Canadians and yes, some of my best blogger friends are, indeed, Canadian. It's funny about people, in general, they can be smug if they have what someone else needs/wants. A guy driving a Mercedes can be smug to the guy riding a bicycle. Not that that's right or even nice but, a reality none the less.

You know the high taxes vs. high insurance costs or high medical costs might all be about the same amount of pain. The real problem here is the huge number of people that don't have any coverage. It depletes the system. Emergency rooms can't deny them care so the uninsured go to the emergency room to get treated. I am sympathetic to the fact the insurance is beyond the means for so many and without it the cost of care would bankrupt them...and often does.

One of the major problems resulting from the initiation of the Affordable Health Care legislation is that people are vehemently divided on if they are for it or against it. It's causing a lot of dissension. I think it is a bit early for me personally to make a determination as to it's plus and minuses as I haven't seen what coverages are available to me and my husband or what it might cost. I am hopeful that some of this program is helpful to a lot of people that need insurance coverage. The big question will be "can people afford it?"

I have decided to delay trying to get back on the site for a few days. My 2 grandson's are here for the next four days, and I don't want to be dealing with a irritating bureaucratic subject such as health care reform.

I thing getting caught up on my blog reading sound like a splendid plan.

Cheryl P. said...

I think anytime people go too far right or left, it reduces the likelihood that there is room for compromise. I am a liberal conservative or a conservative liberal and at this point do have a strong alliance to either party. Aren't they all acting badly.

As far as Obamacare... I am hopeful that some of the healthcare reforms turn out to be helpful for a lot of people. I think people forget, if this needs tweeking or modifying there are systems that allow for things to change...BUT not in the manner of duking it out verbally, shutting down the government or all the other nonsense that seems to be standard operating procedure out of Washington these days. Our government isn't a stagnant piece of legislation. In the short term all of us self-unemployed (thanks for the new phrase) hopefully will find some affordable coverage, If not, I guess we keep working with the standard health insurance companies we always have. (I, too, hate dealing with insurance companies...they are the WORST)

So for now, I am giving it a week or so before trying again to figure it all out. Perhaps I can get caught up on reading some blogs.

Cheryl P. said...

How funny, I hadn't gotten to this comment and I was just telling you that I was taking a break from thinking about insurance and would try to get caught up on blog reading.

Thank goodness, your blog isn't associated with political parties, insurance companies, gov. agencies or lobbyists, I would have to delete you from my feed reader.

Happy to hear you are no longer hanging out in alleys with punks.

lisleman said...

Yeah I saw the light. That's the light at the end of the alley. It was a cop car.

abeerfortheshower said...

And this is why I'm such a health nut and I work out constantly, eat well, get the proper amount of sleep, etc. Because I literally cannot afford to get sick.

Hell, the wife and I even have supposedly great insurance through her employer. And yet she was bitten by a recluse spider yesterday, had to go to urgent care, and insurance wouldn't cover a dime of it. So... what exactly do we pay $200 a month for...?

(She's fine, btw. It was treated before anything truly bad could happen)

Cheryl P. said...

So glad your wife is OK. That is scary stuff.

As to the insurance..I hate insurance companies. My husband and I are very fit as well. No prescriptions needed, not overweight, exercise everyday, eat right..and still our insurance is over a thousand a month. Our rate is actually a preferred rate as we don't have any pre-existing conditions and we neither smoke or drink. (sorry, not to diss beer but remember I have alcohol intolerance). AND still, I know as sure as sh** if I ever do get sick, there will be problems getting payment.

A friend of mine has been fighting breast cancer and she is forever having problems with her insurer allowing tests and treatments that her doctor feels are necessary,

I absolutely believe there has to be some reform, but I just don't know what those 1000* pages of this bill contains. No one does. I am hoping that at least portions of it work out to help not hinder. Time will tell.

abeerfortheshower said...

You know what I've always found funny? That those health insurance companies always have these flowery, sugary commercials where they talk about how much they care about you and just want to make sure you're okay and have the best access to the best doctors, blah blah blah.

Similar to your friend with breast cancer, my wife fought cervical cancer last year and was in a constant battle with her provider over what they'd cover. Often they'd deny it right off the bat without a second thought, and she'd have to make 2-3 angry phone calls just to get them to own up to their part of the bill, which they WERE liable to cover. They just didn't want to.

Yeah, so caring, right?

(And again, she's fine. It's gone and all recent tests have been negative for any traces of a re-occurrence, thank God)

And I don't know what those 1000s of pages contain either, but all I know is that making healthcare more "affordable" to people does nothing if said healthcare provider refuses to cover their customers.

Cheryl P. said...

SEEEE...I find that incredibly sad that a person such as your wife that is already dealing with a horribly stressful situation has the added burden of fighting for payment by a company that has an obligation to pay. I can't believe that anyone's health isn't compromised by the added stress of how to pay for medical care. I am happy to hear that the tests are coming back negative. Yay!!!

The part that I am skeptical of (I hope this is just me worrying and doesn't prove to be the case) is that it looks like the cost of these marketplace policies are even higher than the private individual plans and cover less. The incentive is that you get tax credits. I am not willing to pay an extra 500 bucks a month on the outside chance my wage falls into a level that gets me some tax credits. As my husband and I are self-employed we always feel like we are over paying for insurances, (disability, long-term health care, accident, dental and the list goes on..)

AletaObrien said...

Don't get my husband started on hospitals and insurance.... thankfully he has excellent coverage with his company. BUT... because of the "excellent" coverage the doctors go off the wall NUTS on "test that need to be run" and "come back for another visit" - the hospitals and doctors want to charge up the bill because they have found a good plan that pays. My husband could rant on it for a year and a half. I'm just grateful to have the coverage.

Cheryl P. said...

On this topic and several others we have talked about, your husband and I share the same views. We really should become pen pals so we can vent about things.

I, too have excellent insurance but it costs a inordinate amount of money. I am always curious if what I get charged, knowing that they will get great reimbursement is the same as others get charged if they have lesser coverage. Another problem with the system is that big insurance companies like mine have negotiated rates, while the uninsured don't get those discounts. So the uninsured get charged higher rates...which makes no sense. If they truly can't afford insurance how can they afford the top tier price for a procedure. The whole system is just terribly wrong.

Robyn Engel said...

Plan B makes a lot more sense than anything that's going on right now.
Good luck to you and all of us, Cheryl.

Cheryl P. said...

It would be helpful if a person knew exactly what their future health needs are. As my psychic abilities have never proven to be very accurate, I guess I am going to have to rely on "eeny, meenie, miney, moe" to pick out a policy.

I do think a little luck would be helpful for all of us as well.

Hope you are having a good week, Robyn.

Cheryl P. said...

Trina, I just happened to notice your comment was sitting in the spam folder. I have no idea why as it never has been considered spam in the past. I wanted to reply to your comment though as you and Wolf are kind of in the same situation as we are here. We are self-employed and the insurance is high. Your quote is what we are currently paying. It was slightly more than that but then I cut some coverages and raised the deductible. It's still a decent enough policy but at more than 1000 dollars a month it is a lot of money. The problem as I see it is that with an insurance policy you get much lower costs at medical providers, because of the negotiated prices that the insurance companies have. So for example: If I need stitches, I go to any doctor in my network and pay let's say $35.00 because my big insurance company pays that for stitches. You might be charged $150.00 because of no insurance.. I understand why of course because the cost of it it is ridiculous. My point is, that I hope on that marketplace list there is a high deductible, no-frills policy that is cheap so everyone can take advantage of the negotiated rates with medical providers. I have had company this week and didn't want to ruin it by researching insurance policies so I have yet to check it out. My friends have told me that the insurance policies comparable to mine cost more than I am currently paying but I haven't seen that for myself. I am planning on checking it out on Monday.

Anon A Mus said...

Not only do we have 3 call centers, supposedly staffed every single minute of the year, but several of these tireless workers will ... wait for it ... not get health benefits because our gracious overlords will only work them part-time. (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/354556/obamacare-call-center-will-not-offer-healthcare-benefits-employees-eliana-johnson)

I was sickened to read that article, but only a little. That sickening isn't covered under my insurance.

Cheryl P. said...

I truly think this is the wave of the future that companies are going to call nearly all the workers, part timers to avoid having to pay for pricy health insurance. The grocers unions are causing a lot of ruckus now because some of the major grocery store chains are reducing large numbers of employees to 29.5 hours to get in under the new requirements.

I think that some of the ideas involved in health care reform make sense but some are very counter-productive.

Your comment "I was sickened to read that article, but only a little. That sickening isn't covered under my insurance." funny...it's so true.