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  #61 (permalink)  
Old June 2nd, 2012, 04:32 PM
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Typically, $100 a month for basic Medicare, about $125 a month for top drawer Medigap (no deductibles, no co-pays), and about $70 for a good prescription drug plan (no co-pays for generic drugs). All rolled up, a senior can usually get decent coverage for a bit under $300 a month. Not cheap.



Correct about the huge military budget. The other factor is that although we do pay federal and state taxes, they are simply not enough to cover an "entitlement" package for our citizens that is as comprehensive as we might like. And as I'm sure you know, one political party is marching in lockstep against any tax increases for any reason under any circumstances. Tremendous amounts of money flow to this party from insurance companies and other special interests that benefit from the status quo and would be hurt by change.

Our politicians are bought-and-paid-for pretty much across the board; they act in the interests of themselves and their big donors, and everybody else is on their own. It's a jungle out here, and only the fittest survive. In this context fitness includes getting an education, working a long career, understanding personal financial planning in the 21st century and making all the right moves, understanding the cost/benefit equation regarding children, and a bit of luck.

Everybody else is pretty much financially doomed.
Thanks AR, no politician in this country would dare suggest asking our senior citizens to pay 200 pp pm; the min state benefit is only maybe double that.

So who is 'ripping the knitting' as we would say ? the Insurance Companies; not just them alone.

Now getting back to Todd's OP; the poor exist on an income of $22K pa. Now the all-in-package for seniors costs $3600 pa which I know is relatively cheap.

So how does the under-65 working poor survive?

I think you guys are overdue a replay of the events of the 18th century?

Annie
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 04:53 PM
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Mike, Annie, Kuki and Henry,

I surmise Henry that you have GHI. If you do and you live in NYC it's great. Just don't move out of the New York area!

When I was working I had what I was told was among if not the best health nation wide insurance plan available. For instance, were I to have had a heart transplant at one of the plan's "Centers of Excellence" which all those in the plan really are, the heart transplant itself, all follow up treatments, mileage if I lived 100 miles away I got mileage, over 100 and I was flown along with my wife, free hotel and meals for my wife and yes, even follow up flights for after care. The total out-of-pocket to me? A one time payment of FIFTEEN DOLLARS! Because I had a wife I had to have family coverage which, at the time that I retired, cost me around $220 a month.

Now, Medicare is primary and I've lost that heart transplant program (which I wouldn't have done anyway) and because I'm now single, it costs me 56 dollars a month (including prescriptions with a ten to forty dollar co-pay like Mike has). My prescriptions last year as I believe I wrote totaled if I remember correctly (which would be a miracle for yours truly) over 7000 dollars but cost me about I think $600.

As for the union government thing Kuki, as I previously said I took a government job, even though I could have made probably far more in the private industry world, because back then while government jobs didn't pay squat, the benefits were great. It was a more than fair exchange back then. Now, however the majority of government jobs in quite a number of areas pay far more than private industry so the trade-off is no longer fair. Yet I repeat, at the time I first started on the job it was more than fair as the greed thing had yet to take over. Now I'm solidly on the other side of the fence in such egregious cases.

Now that I'm retired I've lost all of that because Medicare is my primary and my state insurance is my Medi-Gap but I lost a lot of private benefits.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 07:33 PM
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So who is 'ripping the knitting' as we would say ? the Insurance Companies; not just them alone.
Annie
1. Insurance companies
2. For-profit hospitals
3. Certain medical practice groups
4. Pharmaceutical companies
5. Medical device manufacturers
6. The plaintiff's bar (lawyers who encourage suits against health care providers for any reason and often for no reason)
7. Did I mention pharmaceutical companies?

Anybody care to add to the list?
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 09:41 AM
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Henry... that is wonderful for you and your wife.

How and why you have that coverage would be interesting to know. Was that part of a compensation package you/she received from a company you worked for?

If so, were they private companies which were "union shops"- who negotiated that coverage as part of a compensation package , or a government body, which would also likely be a union job?

The reason I ask is obviously someone pays for that coverage. So, it makes it interesting, and somewhat relevant to the topic of "what is being poor".

I worked for a company 25 years .My intent was to still be working there today .In 1996 there was a downsizing and they said "bye ,bye ,Henry43 ."I was given the option of free lifetime health insurance for my family if I opted to take early pension . Even though my wife was working and had a great job she had a lousy insurance plan .The plan I had was among the best available .Actually I recommended the plan to my employers in 1995 .I opted to take the reduced pension .I was also given free lifetime legal service and a life insurance policy at no cost .

Kuki: As of this day ,I "Henry43" do hereby say that I will endeavor not to "hijack" as you refer to it any threads on CM .
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Just as a "for instance"; my medical this year has been terrible. I landed in the hospital for two days in March with bilateral DVT's and a PE. I have RA, asthma and a touch of high blood pressure. My prescriptions alone for this year - January through May - totaled $12000 with my copay of about $225. My hospital stay was over $10000.00. My monthly RA infusion costs over $2000 a month (billing is over $4000 but insurance pays only reasonable and customary). This does not even include the numerous doctor visits, tests (MRI, ultrasounds and biopsy) and required blood work done since the hospital stay. The majority of the prescription costs are for enoxaprain injections (generic Lovenox) that I am required to take until the warfarin raises my INR level to 2.0 - 3.0 (which seems to take quite some time!!). I am also looking at needing surgery in August with a day or two in the hospital and more of the meds to keep my blood thinned.

I am fortunate that DH has a good job and good insurance coverage. However, when he retires it will change quite a bit. Retirees have different coverages and limits that will, in the end, cost us more with a reduced income. I would like him to retire, however, I feel that I am making it very difficult with my medical problems. Yes, DH is young (54 - started working at present job at 20) but works in an industry/factory with a "25 years gets 30 years credited service" because of the conditions he works. In a foundry, the atmosphere is dirty, loud and often dangerous (he was working in an area one time with asbestos removal that was not known - had to give up everything he had on or used to shower with - clothes, underwear, towel, shoes, etc.). So, he needs to finish working there!

I am thankful for his good job and yet worry how I may be making it difficult for him to retire. We have put our girls through school both completing doctorate degrees. Life has been good to us, but I worry about what the future brings.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 01:41 PM
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Haima

I don't know what to say - omg - doesn't even come close ; I know I will stop moaning about the odd back twinge I get - I haven't even taken a painkiller this year.

I have a few wishes for you:

1. Your health continues to improve and stabalises.
2. You manage to secure an appropriate health care plan at modest cost looking forward.
3. If it was my OH - I'd want him to quit that job as well.
4. Health and happiness for all your family.

Annie

PS There is no price you can put on good health and those of us fortunate to have it should do all in their power to keep it for as long as possible.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 02:39 PM
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Haima,

"Reasonable and customary" should be changed to "cheapest possible." The first term is a travesty.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 02:46 PM
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Haima

I don't know what to say - omg - doesn't even come close ;
I agree, I'm never going to moan about the $65 we pay a month ever again!
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 09:37 PM
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Haima's is a perfect example of how in many cases seniors wind up with less health coverage for more money. It's a real squeeze.

One way Obamacare helps this is that it bars insurance companies from refusing coverage for "pre-existing conditions," which has historically been one of their favorite tricks. However, by a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court will almost certainly strike down that law within the next few months (and definitely before the election), which will put that mean-spirited little provision back on the table, among others.

The insurance companies will ALWAYS win, with the help of their politician handmaidens and an electorate that says things like. . .

"Get the government out of my life. . .but don't touch my Medicare!"
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 10:25 PM
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AR,

There is merit in what you write about pre-existing conditions although that applies not only to seniors.

Be that as it may, I do deeply believe in healthcare reform. What I would like to see, however, is a viable option. Obama's plan as offered and passed by a controlled Senate and House could not even begin to work! Obama's plan has so many addendums (most about which the public doesn't even know) that would in effect do to this country what has happened in Europe....and many of the addendums really don't have a damned thing to do with healhcare! I am still asking myself how in the hell a "healthcare plan" could be rammed through the same congress that couldn't even come up with a basic budget for over two years????!!!!!!! And they had all the votes!!!!!!!!!!

What we desperately need is a viable healthcare plan. Obama's, as written, is filled....no. not filled but crammed....with things that we nor any other country could afford, just to get more votes. Are the Republicans as guilty. Yes they are.

What the hell ever happened to "common sense?" That is definitely what this country needs and it needs it NOW!
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 10:49 PM
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Mike, Annie, Kuki and Henry,

I surmise Henry that you have GHI. If you do and you live in NYC it's great. Just don't move out of the New York area!

When I was working I had what I was told was among if not the best health nation wide insurance plan available. For instance, were I to have had a heart transplant at one of the plan's "Centers of Excellence" which all those in the plan really are, the heart transplant itself, all follow up treatments, mileage if I lived 100 miles away I got mileage, over 100 and I was flown along with my wife, free hotel and meals for my wife and yes, even follow up flights for after care. The total out-of-pocket to me? A one time payment of FIFTEEN DOLLARS! Because I had a wife I had to have family coverage which, at the time that I retired, cost me around $220 a month.

Now, Medicare is primary and I've lost that heart transplant program (which I wouldn't have done anyway) and because I'm now single, it costs me 56 dollars a month (including prescriptions with a ten to forty dollar co-pay like Mike has). My prescriptions last year as I believe I wrote totaled if I remember correctly (which would be a miracle for yours truly) over 7000 dollars but cost me about I think $600.

As for the union government thing Kuki, as I previously said I took a government job, even though I could have made probably far more in the private industry world, because back then while government jobs didn't pay squat, the benefits were great. It was a more than fair exchange back then. Now, however the majority of government jobs in quite a number of areas pay far more than private industry so the trade-off is no longer fair. Yet I repeat, at the time I first started on the job it was more than fair as the greed thing had yet to take over. Now I'm solidly on the other side of the fence in such egregious cases.

Now that I'm retired I've lost all of that because Medicare is my primary and my state insurance is my Medi-Gap but I lost a lot of private benefits.
I do not and never have had GHI ,nor do I reside in NYC .
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Old June 4th, 2012, 02:22 AM
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Henry

Even I know you don't live in NYC.

Annie
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:33 AM
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AR,

There is merit in what you write about pre-existing conditions although that applies not only to seniors.

Be that as it may, I do deeply believe in healthcare reform. What I would like to see, however, is a viable option. Obama's plan as offered and passed by a controlled Senate and House could not even begin to work! Obama's plan has so many addendums (most about which the public doesn't even know) that would in effect do to this country what has happened in Europe....and many of the addendums really don't have a damned thing to do with healhcare! I am still asking myself how in the hell a "healthcare plan" could be rammed through the same congress that couldn't even come up with a basic budget for over two years????!!!!!!! And they had all the votes!!!!!!!!!!

What we desperately need is a viable healthcare plan. Obama's, as written, is filled....no. not filled but crammed....with things that we nor any other country could afford, just to get more votes. Are the Republicans as guilty. Yes they are.

What the hell ever happened to "common sense?" That is definitely what this country needs and it needs it NOW!
I've read the bill too and I don't like the Christmas Tree provisions either. But it won't be struck down on that basis. It will be nullified because of the individual mandate, which is a core concept that is necessary for any health reform to work. It is the only way to prevent the baseline gaming of the system by the cynical. It creates a loophole so big that it destroys any vestige of universality. What the Supreme Court will say, in effect, is that as long as the five of us are in the political majority, we will not permit meaningful healthcare reform that puts insurance companies in a neutral position on the playing field, as opposed to giving them an overwhelming advantage. And the public be damned.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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The American people have themselves damned the bill as written and passed. Therefore it is up to the Congress to rewrite it in such a manner as to make it acceptable and there is absolutely no reason why this cannot occur.

I have no idea how the Supreme Court will rule on the Bill but the overwhelming number of informed American people themselves, regardless of political stripe, have said the current "all or nothing" aspect of the bill cannot stand. Even the Democrats that I know are absolutely disgusted with it and it's a shame that any President, Republican or Democrat, would actually push for it's passage as written. The current Congress had a golden opportunity to write something reasonable and they chose not too. Any member of Congress regardless of party affiliation who makes a statement that this or any Bill should have been passed without review or discussion by all parties involved is in my opinion, an idiot. This is the classic example of what happens when something ....anything is crammed through Congress by any political party. This time it was the Democrats but it could just as easily been the Republicans. What we need in Congress is something I fear will never occur.................common sense!
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:53 AM
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Am I being a cynic in saying that nothing will change as too many people/corporations make too much money out of it?

I just don't understand why Americans sit back and accept that as we would say you are not exactly backwards coming forwards?

How does someone earning the min wage survive?

Annie
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Old June 4th, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Am I being a cynic in saying that nothing will change as too many people/corporations make too much money out of it?

I just don't understand why Americans sit back and accept that as we would say you are not exactly backwards coming forwards?

How does someone earning the min wage survive?

Annie
Yes, but it's set up such that the "too many people" are the people at the top, not the rank and file. I'm sure that's what you meant.

Americans, partly because our education system has been so poor for so long, respond to simplistic platitudes, to "personalities," and to "movements" that are designed by cynics to enlist the gullible but which in fact induce them to act contrary to their best interests. As Todd said, this happens across the political spectrum. The Supreme Court's mandate that, effectively, there can be no limits imposed on money given for political advertising has poisined the well even more, has given aid and comfort to the cynics, and has injured the commonweal beyond measure.

Right now, the US Congress enjoys a 9 to 13% approval rating, depending on which poll you look at. Yet, well over 90% of the inmates there who run for re-election are successful. Why? Because Americans will tell you that while 532 of those people are crooks, the three who represent me are just fine. And so the madness is perpetuated.

People earning the minimum wage survive mostly by working two jobs and getting various forms of assistance, local, state and federal. . .governmental and from various charitable groups.

Several months ago somebody here noted a statistic that only a very small percentage of Americans have ever taken a cruise. I think the number was 7%, but I won't swear to it. The person who posted wondered how so many people could be so ignorant about how wonderful cruising is.

Putting aside the pro-cruise bias that is only natural here, the question made me laugh grimly. For a huge proportion of our population. . .the idea of cruising is so far off the radar screen that it's laughable. It's not even open for consideration on its merits.

Of course, the people who DO post here represent a self-selected sample of people who are cruisers, frequent, infrequent or somewhere in between. Therefore our perspective, no matter our individual problems, is that of the "haves," and sometimes we forget how fortunate we are.

But America is not doing well. The middle class that made us great is slowly but surely dissolving into an underclass, and nobody seems able to stop it. Worse, the problem seems to feed on itself. Left unchecked, it is the stuff revolutions are made of.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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AR, et al.,

Maybe you've seen this and maybe you haven't but the explanation as to why we're going through what we're going through is pretty much included:

An Obituary printed in the London Times.....Absolutely Dead Brilliant !!



Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense ,who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

He declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.
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Old June 5th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Todd, love the Common Sense post - so true, so very, very true!

Anniegb - thank you so much for the wishes/thoughts, but my intent with the post was to show how bad the costs are for such minor illnesses (okay, maybe not minor but very possible for anyone to have); it was a shock to me!

The real shock, though, is what the hospital will actually get paid. Of the $10K for the two day stay, the insurance will pay about $2000 - 3000 to the hospital with the remaining $7000 - 8000 being written off per insurance guidelines of reasonable and customary (yeah, right!). As you can see, the RA infusions are nearly halved by the insurance company ($4000 billed but about $2000 - 2500 paid to the doctor). My insurance statements show, however, that the full billed price was paid but if I check with the hospital, they will show me what actually they received and what was written off (insurance does not like us to know that!).

Also, one of the "Christmas Tree" provisions came to light to us recently. Our DD#2 just graduated from college and we were expecting to have to eliminate her from our insurance. After a little research and questioning, we found out she is covered until the end of the year she turns the age of 26, regardless of being in school or being married as per the new mandates. We had always known she was covered under DH insurance as long as she was in school, but then expected her to get a job with insurance or get married and be under her DH insurance. She gets married this weekend. But, she will be covered until the end of the year under DH insurance!!!???!! I personally think that is a little extreme of the government plan.


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Old June 5th, 2012, 06:30 PM
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Haima--

No matter how much is "written off" (and it is extreme, isn't it?), the Catch-22 is that if you don't have insurance you get to pay the full list price. The price only gets reduced to the "contracted amount" for those who DO have insurance. It's a very strange system.

And, you can think it is good or think it is bad, but the extension of parents' benefits until age 27 was done with some reasoning behind it:

1. It may not have been true with your daughter, but many college careers these days extend well past the age of 21. Five years or a little more is now "normal" for undergraduates (don't ask me why), and for some there is grad school after that.

2. It is our young folks coming into the workforce that in general are having a very tough time finding jobs--and especially finding jobs at the level that matches their newly-minted academic credentials. Not finding a good job combined with the necessity of beginning to pay off those excruciating student loans can create a very tough squeeze on this age group. Being able to keep them on their parents' insurance for a few years gives them a little room to breathe, and isn't really a huge cost factor because as a group folks this age represent a low risk for health insurers. Plus, this coverage isn't free; there's still a premium to pay. Whether the family does it or the employer does it just depends on what kind of deal you have at work.

Like I said, you can agree or not with the reasoning, but at least there was some.
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Old June 5th, 2012, 10:44 PM
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My point is that Haima made a good point. At some point, one has to take responsibility for their own situation, be it Healthcare, or otherwise.

They've just called the recall in Wisconsin for Gov. Walker. That in and of itself says a lot.

As a union employee and still a union member, I am most pleased with the result (even if the result did not include law enforcement...I think it should have). As I wrote earlier, if the salary wasn't as much as private industry, that's fine. But when government employees make more than the average worker, that wrong. Period! In Wisconsiin the government employee makes significant;y more than the private employee. Why then, should they receive enhanced benefits?

We have to retrench but that doesn't mean that everyone has to give up a lot. Just walk in lockstep with the population. Public employee unions (of which I'm a member) have to make hard decisions and support the whole. We're not above the average person, we're the same. When we weren't receiving sufficient compensation that was one thing, but today pualic employess overall make more that the private sector minus the benefits. For instance, in Wisconsin they make significntly more! I'm sorry (which are usually tremendous)but I think that's not right! I'm not better than the steel worker or the GE employee who has lost so much. Yes, I had a dangerous job but I knew that going in! I was a lawman and proud of it for I protected the public, but should I receive so much more (be it salary or benefits) than the poor slob doing back breaking work in a steel mill? Hardly! When I didn't make that much money that was one thing but times have changed. In many areas today's law enforcement officer makes more than their blue collar counterpart plus they have Cadillac benefits. Sorry buddy, but I don't think that's right!
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Old June 6th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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AR said "No matter how much is "written off" (and it is extreme, isn't it?), the Catch-22 is that if you don't have insurance you get to pay the full list price. The price only gets reduced to the "contracted amount" for those who DO have insurance. It's a very strange system."

I have been in offices where, if you don't have insurance the pricing is different (less) than the full list price. There is wiggle room for those without insurance; however, I do understand that the lesser price still can't be paid by many of those without insurance - therefore the full list price continues to rise for those with insurance in the hope that the insurance's "reasonable & customary" amount gets increased.

AR said "And, you can think it is good or think it is bad, but the extension of parents' benefits until age 27 was done with some reasoning behind it"

I was not aware of the reasoning, just recently found out. My DD#2 just graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy. She is 25 (to be 26 in November). I do understand the difficulty in finding a job along with the required wait periods for insurance to begin. She has been interviewing and has had a few job offers; two were part-time or "as needed" contract work which offers no insurance. I don't mind the extra coverage she will get, but I feel there are many out there that the funds could benefit better.

In the same thought, my DD#1's DSIL fell ill in her freshman year of college. She just graduated with her bachelor's after eight years (a major accomplishment that hit several newspapers). She had to drop out and extend her college due to her illness (leukemia - two types, stem-cell transplant, kidney transplant and several other related illnesses). Of course, she is past the age now, but it would have been a real help to her family.


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Old June 6th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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My son will be 25 next month. He is a college grad with a part time job, and no insurance. We went on post to add him back on our family gov. plan once we found out it had gone into effect.

They laughed at my husband, and said they were offering instead, a policy for my son, which was outragous. Jim asked about the Obama plan, and they laughed again, and said that was not available to us, or my son.

I would be interested in others who might have taken advantage of this new rule with a regular insurance company, or is everyone in limbo until the court case is settled.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Luanne - why is your son not eligible? Is it because of your DH military work?? I don't understand why you would be denied!

We found out when DH went to cancel DD#2 insurance after she graduated at the beginning of May. It was automatic on DH's employer-paid insurance.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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We were not given an answer. You would think that it would apply to a servicemembers child first. We don't know what to think. It might be they are not sure it will not be thrown out this month, and the paperwork would be to much.
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Old June 6th, 2012, 12:08 PM
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It's not lack of money that makes many people poor...its a lack of respect - both from others aswell as from themselves, its a lack of direction, its a lack of feeling wanted by those around you...and in many cases its also down to basic upbringing that can make someone "poor".

In my travels to various parts of the world, I have seen really shocking levels of poverty...financial poverty, that is....butin those same places, I have seen smiles and heard laughter from the most simple of things.

Not so long ago, every country was reasonably pleased with what they had.....nowadays, we have become materialistic, financial institutions have handed out credit as if it were confetti at a wedding......and as a result, we are paying for it now.

But bottom line, money is not what should make you happy......you can be poor financially but you can also be poor through basic lack of love, respect and esteem.

The UK has been treated as a haven for those wanting to better their lives for decades, the misguided idea that we are a rich nation....they soon come back to earth with a bump when they try to run a car when petrol is close to $11 a gallon!
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Old June 7th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CostaSmurf View Post
It's not lack of money that makes many people poor...its a lack of respect - both from others aswell as from themselves, its a lack of direction, its a lack of feeling wanted by those around you...and in many cases its also down to basic upbringing that can make someone "poor".

In my travels to various parts of the world, I have seen really shocking levels of poverty...financial poverty, that is....butin those same places, I have seen smiles and heard laughter from the most simple of things.

Not so long ago, every country was reasonably pleased with what they had.....nowadays, we have become materialistic, financial institutions have handed out credit as if it were confetti at a wedding......and as a result, we are paying for it now.

But bottom line, money is not what should make you happy......you can be poor financially but you can also be poor through basic lack of love, respect and esteem.

The UK has been treated as a haven for those wanting to better their lives for decades, the misguided idea that we are a rich nation....they soon come back to earth with a bump when they try to run a car when petrol is close to $11 a gallon!
Most of us didn't realize how poor we were until 'educated' by tv commercials, news ads, billboards, and magazines boldly telling us how everybody who's anybody has the newest electronic toy, current cell phone release, kitchen gadget, car/van/suv or home. And if you don't, OMG why not????? And heaven forbid that a child, teen or anyone wanting to be a fashionista not wear the most current fashion fad, no matter how much those stupid tennis shoes or torn jeans cost.

Bigger; better and current that's the key to happiness and proof that you are not (shades of disgrace) poor.

There's nothing that cures that attitude like visiting a 'third' world country to snap a person awake to what ' genuinely' poor means. Where there is NO food banks, welfare, bailout, church relief fund, ATM with extended credit...if you don't have it...you ain't going get it, no way, no how.

That doesn't mean there isn't genuinely poor here. There certainly is!!! But as of this date, most still have the 'perception' that they're now poor because they had to give up certain comforts and niceties like cable tv, downsizing their home size, giving up that new car trade-in and have to send their child to a 'city' college.

I tend to agree with some of the comments previously posted...poor also has to do with attitude and how a person/family deals with their dramatic change in economic circumstances. Some people can be poor and VERY materialistic. Some people are very rich and NOT materialistic at all.
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Old June 7th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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The Mass Market cruise lines have encountered a new problems with all the "poor people" from California.

It seems that California - which has it's own financial problems - has attempted to reduce administrative costs of it's welfare system by issuing debit cards to those who qualify as "poor".
The state charges up these welfare debit cards every month.

Unfortunately, there are no controls on what is purchased with these cards.

California's "Poor" have been using the debit cards to purchase airline tickets to Florida, where they board cruise ships (cruise paid for with the debit card), then use the same debit cards in the ATM machines on the ships to get money to play in the ship's casino.

There were so many people doing this that the State of California made a deal with the cruise lines to program our onboard ATMs not to accept the California Welfare Debit Cards.

Only in America.................................
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Old June 7th, 2012, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
The Mass Market cruise lines have encountered a new problems with all the "poor people" from California.

It seems that California - which has it's own financial problems - has attempted to reduce administrative costs of it's welfare system by issuing debit cards to those who qualify as "poor".
The state charges up these welfare debit cards every month.

Unfortunately, there are no controls on what is purchased with these cards.

California's "Poor" have been using the debit cards to purchase airline tickets to Florida, where they board cruise ships (cruise paid for with the debit card), then use the same debit cards in the ATM machines on the ships to get money to play in the ship's casino.

There were so many people doing this that the State of California made a deal with the cruise lines to program our onboard ATMs not to accept the California Welfare Debit Cards.

Only in America.................................
I personally feel that is a sad reflection on society as a whole, not something that only affects one state in the US....it is a worldwide problem. Up until a few years ago, here in the UK those on benefits were paid by cheque or orderbook, then they changed to debit card accounts and people are far more open to the temptation of "splashing out" on frilly bits if they don't actually feel the cash in hand first...spend now, suffer later.

It is also totally understandable that there will be people who take advantage of a system like that.....human nature to spend, spend, spend....sometimes on things that are useful and sometimes for life's "frilly bits".

Stopping the cruise lines from accepting the plastic is locking the stable door long after the horse has escaped.....restrictions should have been put in place before the system was launched as there will always be those wanting to take advantage of it.
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Old June 7th, 2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
The Mass Market cruise lines have encountered a new problems with all the "poor people" from California.

It seems that California - which has it's own financial problems - has attempted to reduce administrative costs of it's welfare system by issuing debit cards to those who qualify as "poor".
The state charges up these welfare debit cards every month.

Unfortunately, there are no controls on what is purchased with these cards.

California's "Poor" have been using the debit cards to purchase airline tickets to Florida, where they board cruise ships (cruise paid for with the debit card), then use the same debit cards in the ATM machines on the ships to get money to play in the ship's casino.

There were so many people doing this that the State of California made a deal with the cruise lines to program our onboard ATMs not to accept the California Welfare Debit Cards.

Only in America.................................
Old news, long since corrected. Way back in November 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported. . .

California welfare recipients will no longer be able to use their state-issued debit cards at medical marijuana shops, psychics, massage parlors and many other businesses whose services have been deemed "inconsistent" with the goals of the program. ATMs and point-of-sale card readers in such business will be removed from the network that accepts California's Electronic Benefits Transfer cards.

The cards, which allow access to cash meant to help families pay rent and clothe their children, also will no longer work at bail bond establishments, bingo halls, gun shops, bars, race tracks, smoking shops, tattoo parlors and on cruise ships.

Let's at least try to keep the outrage up-to-date. Sorry about the gun shops restriction. I reckon all the Second Amendment affectionadoes are working with the NRA to reverse that part of the ban.

Of course, anybody with half a brain can simply do balance transfers from the welfare card to any other debit or credit card, or to cash, then buy anything they like.

By the way, related stories explain that the really big winners in the California benefits debit cards are (drum roll please). . .the BANKS. Who else? They charge usurious fees at both ends of each transaction, and to the state for "topping up" the cards each month. Score another one for the 1%.
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Last edited by AR; June 7th, 2012 at 05:20 PM.
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Old June 7th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Did a post get deleted? I didn't see the one about the NRA wanting the welfare cards used on guns.
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