April 14, 2003

rip roarin at 2:30 a.m.

Decided to tackle taxes tonight. Nothing makes you feel more useless than kindergarten math that you somehow can't get right. Well, all the pieces are FINALLY together except for one. I suppose most people put those end-of-the-year 1098s from their mortgage companies in a safe place. Where's my safe place? Is it at your house? Cause it's not here. No sireee. Can't find the damn thing anywhere.

Undaunted, I called the mortgage company at 1 this morning. Amazed by my own resourcefulness, I even managed to find our account number and the bank's phone number in my PAYEES section of the online banking site I mangle each month.

Just ONE piece of information away from being done. How excited was I when I dialed the mortage goons, only to try entering the account number six times before realizing we don't exist.

I hate it when that happens.

On the seventh call I got a human being, who explained that their systems were down. See, they still need humans to apologize for machines. Job security.

Call back at 5 a.m. central time, she says. I'm still using my math powers to figure out what that is for me--I'm thinking 7.

Anyway, that's why I haven't written today. Between taxes and insurance (just realizing d-day for health ins is the 15th) and unemployment and actually trying to market moi, I haven't written anything worthwhile in a week.

I am sorry.

But on the good news front, I think I found a refurbished-by-dell Dell laptop at the computer store I never saw before over by Jenna's school. They're asking $799, but I think I can get them down to $700 or so. I told the guy my blogger friends were raising money to get me a Dell and he said, "That's so cool...that's SO cool." You know, so I liked him right off the bat. It has a six-month warranty, it's got 98 SE on it and MS Office. But most of all, when I put my hands on the wrist rests, it felt soooooooo good.

But then I shake myself, say JENEANE! The mail man brought the COBRA information over the weekend. I don't think it hit me until I read the forms that in 1 more day we don't have health insurance.

I guess I thought that COBRA covered you for 60 or 90 (i'm in denial, so I don't remember which) days, but it doesn't really work like that--well it DOES, but you have to pay the premium from the first day after benefits are cancelled onward to get that coverage. In our case, just for health insurance (not dental or vision or anything) it's nearly $1,000 a month. If you're lucky and you don't need your insurance between that day and 60 days later, I think you make it scott free by saving 2 months on the premium before you say, "Yes, I accept COBRA." But if you do file a claim any time within that window, they grab all the back premiums from you as well, so you're out thousandssss. As if!

I started filling out the forms for Blue Choice PPO. In this case, the coverage isn't great, plus there's a 12-month waiting period on pre-existing conditions. So, they can deny you coverage on just about anything for the first year you pay them. That sweet deal is apparently $460 and change per month for a family.

I have boiled these two health plan characteristics down to two simple business models and have translated them below as per your urgent need:

Group COBRA Policy: Get good coverage but get screwed on money.
Individual Policy: Pay less money but get screwed on coverage.

Remember these two different approaches and you will have grasped the business models of health insurance companies in Amerika

love it or leave it.

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