Thursday, November 23, 2017

Obama 1, Trump 0: Happy Thanksgiving from a bit poorer, bit relieved ApacheDug

2018 premiums notice

A few weeks ago (right before my birthday)  I received this ominous letter from my health insurer;  I’d been expecting some bad news, as enrollment time was almost here and the Führer (a.k.a. Trump) had ended the payouts to health insurance companies.  He claims they were extortion payouts, all I know is 1) he’s full of shit & lies 2) they’ve kept insurance affordable for people like me on silver plans.

Anyway, the letter said that as of January 1, my monthly insurance premium, even after my ACA subsidy, was increasing to 5 times its current amount.  5 times.

I sat on it a few days, not telling anyone but privately panicking inside.  Various news sites reported that on the bright side, silver plans had increased in price so much that for the same money you could now enroll in a gold plan instead.  Big deal!  That’s like telling someone they can now buy a $32,000 Rolex GMT watch for $8,000, the same price as a Rolex Submariner--it doesn’t make either any more affordable!


My 2017 premium is $62.39; effective January 1, it’s $327.86 

So of course I visited the site to see what else was available, saw I could get a more affordable bronze plan (if I didn’t mind paying my PCP $100 a visit, $350 for a trip to the ER and shelling $10,000 out-of-pocket before my insurance even kicked in) and decided enough was enough.   I contacted the good folks at Healthcare and I gotta say… I love this agency and no I’m not being a wiseguy.  I’ve always gotten a caring, helpful voice (and they’ve available year round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).  I explained my situation, said I couldn’t risk going with a bronze plan (as I’d spent the last 16 months seeing umpteen doctors & visiting the emergency room 5 times for issues with kidney stones & TMJ) and the woman on the phone said "Douglas… come to one of our offices, let’s get an assistor to help you enroll in a more affordable plan.”  

She gave me 3 locations to pick from:  Christian Health Alliance on the Northside, Planned Parenthood downtown (er….)  and a satellite office near UPMC on Hot Metal Street on the Southside.  What the—when she asked if I was familiar with any of these sites, I sure was.  I’d just been to that UPMC facility in June, for employee orientation for a job I had less than 2 weeks.

I know, I know… I couldn’t help but think if I’d kept that job, I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this right now. 

newid1 (2)“Doug, what happened?  I thought you were anxious to go back to work!”

I thought so too, and was thankful for the opportunity, but it wasn’t an IT position, my heart wasn’t into learning the business side of things and I didn’t want to waste anymore of their time.  If I ever try this again, I’d want something more IT-related for sure.  Well, either that or some stockboy gig

Anyway—long story short—I went back to the Southside the day before yesterday,  met with a wonderful lady named Maya and am now enrolled in a plan for 2018 for around $88.00 a month.  It’s still 25 bucks more than what I’m currently paying, I’m going to have to tighten my money belt some more, but it sure beats $327.00. 

So I’m thankful for that, and a hundred other things of course—I’m just taking things day by day right now, tired of worrying, tired of wondering what tomorrow brings.  I elected not to go anywhere for Thanksgiving this year, in fact was just going to get a pizza--but ran out last night and bought a split turkey breast right before the market closed.  (I’m anxious to know how it turns out, I’m 56 years old and this is my first time cooking this type of bird!)

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written, and even longer since I’ve tried to share anything funny or remotely interesting, I just need to get my groove back.  For now, just thought I’d pop on here & talk a little while waiting for dinner.

Speaking of pops, the red one on my turkey breast just popped—time to eat!  Happy Thanksgiving Smile