Thursday, November 2, 2017

NaNo Day 2 and a Rant

An update on my NaNoWriMo progress. It is! I am writing. I had my opening words from the midnight write-in on November 1st. After a play rehearsal the evening of November 1st, I went home and wrote a little bit more.

Today (Thu 11/2), a writer friend and I met at the Corporeal Center and had a write-in, with other writers coming to use the space and Domi greeting and conversing. I managed to write a good chunk of words while there. Then relocated and a little while later I wrote more words.

The words were kind of flowing! It was a good writing day.

I closed out the day with a total of 5556 words - which is over the average target word count of 1667 words per day (which would make day 2's target 3334). I am deliberately over because I know there will be some minimal days ahead.

One of my goals this November is to write something every day. Last year I wrote most days; this year my goal, in addition to the 50k, is to write every day. Even if I meet the 50k target ahead of time, is to continue writing every day. (Can you hear me laughing? it will be a struggle to do this year, even though I usually finish around Thanksgiving.)

No, I'm not going to post much of anything about what I'm writing. What I started at the midnight write-in is probably not the story I'm writing. It was words and I thought that would be it. But there has been a major shift. A good shift and I feel on track. But I am not going to talk much about content this year. And I'm fine with that.

* * Warning: Stop here if you don't want to read my rant! * *

Now for the rant: health insurance (with mention of car insurance and taxes).

Maybe I should just stop right there.

No, here are the details, which I know many others are experiencing, as well. I am not alone and I know that I am in a better place on this issue right now than some. Though I am in that group of people who feel the ground slipping and resources changing.

I am so disgusted. Don't even ask me because I don't believe that the "health care" talks from Washington DC would make this any better - I believe 100% that it would be even worse. Does this system need to be fixed? Yes. Is the GOP/T plan any better - oh, no, not at all.

So - my insurance rant 2017 heading into 2018.

My new health care insurance packet arrived. Look at that screen shot, no, this is not comparable. It is not comparable at all. Another $90 per month rate increase for slashing my "benefits" - which I never use because the only thing I use them for is the requisite periodic lab work due to a genetic mutation, which I pay in full, and the requisite one medication I pay for in full, which has a total cost that is below the minimum copay for rx? So I pay you for the privilege of paying everything out of pocket and I get to pay you more for it? Does this look comparable to you? I mean, yes, I knew rate hikes and slashes were coming. But. Still. 

One difference not shown is that my 2017 plan I pay $70 for office visits with my primary dr until deductible is met; and $150 per visit to a specialist. Now I will have those 2 visits per year at $50 and then 50% after deductible? What about that gap of 2 visits to deductible, if needed? In full? At, what, $300 per pop?. 

Oh - I do go to the doctor when needed : My primary care is a Naturopath and Acupuncturist; I also do chiropractic and massage (necessary for the work I do; it has kept me from repetitive motion injury) - none of that is covered by my insurance, so also paid 100% out of pocket. 

With our property tax hike, the car insurance premium hike (no accidents or anything to raise it, it just went up because they could), my health insurance premium increase - is an additional $200 per month; and I don't know what my partner's health insurance rate increase will be, yet - I'm sure there will be something, but don't have those numbers yet.

On the left my deductible and my maximum out of pockets are the same (6500/6500). On the right, my out of pocket maximum is 7350 and my deductible is 6500. Whoopee; $850 "savings."

The left column, with the exception of right now having $70 primary OV/$150 specialist OV until deductible is met, is what my 2017 plan has been.

This screen shot shows the 2018 Marketplace version (left) and the KP version (right). I have been a direct KP individual member for years. I haven't wanted to do the Marketplace because I've heard of many problems with losing rights and access to information due to being Marketplace instead of KP direct. Now, staying with the direct KP plan will cost me $14 more per month than the Marketplace version and the direct KP plan will give me worse coverage; that is reversed from how it was in the past.

I don't get it.

Especially when I don't use it and what I use is so cheap that, in the case of the medication, it is below the minimum copay for a medication.

And, what I haven't said, is that I don't like my primary care physician. I ended up with her when my longtime doctor moved away. Doctors recommended by friends and my ND are not taking new patients.

I realize it is a privilege to have resources to make the premium payments. To have the choice to use natural medicines and chiropractic as my primary care and pay out of pocket. I do work - I have a part-time job at which I have no health care insurance benefits and we are kept under that hours cap where they would have to provide insurance. I also do some freelance work, including performance interpreting and coordinating.

One thing I wonder is at what point does the amount of work I have to do to be able to afford the insurance premiums become a factor in my need for health care? And at what point will it become unaffordable and what will I do? Work more which will increase mental and emotional and physical stress which will cause more need for health care which will .... and so it goes. As of 2018, my health care insurance premiums will have gone up $260 in three years. And this includes going from a Silver plan down to a Bronze plan; I had to decrease my coverage last year because, without it, my insurance would have been almost another $100 per month, in addition to the $70 increase I had to settle for.

I am not dwelling on the cycle right now. Because this is where things are. As the costs of living go up and insurance premiums go up for no reason and even without use, it does raise the question of where is that line of working more to keep making the insurance payments, when the working more becomes a factor in decreasing the standard of living and the need for more health care to address the stress.

There is more. But this is already long enough. And some of the other things I have to say do not belong in this space.


Added note: I know my health care insurance situation is not the worst. I have been hearing stories the past couple of days from people whose situation is worse. One whose monthly premium is going up $350 just for herself. I don't know if hers includes dental and vision or what plan she's on. I don't have those; only medical. There are people going without insurance because they cannot afford the premiums. The ACA is not affordable; the alternatives proposed are far worse. I feel like I am being strangled by insurance and the mangling of health care and destruction of the environment and more. And some people have it worse than me, I know.