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OldePhart
11-15-2011, 12:34 PM
...in the near future.

I just did open enrollment for benefits at work today. Our Cigna health insurance premiums increased by less than 1% overall - but MY share of the premium increased by 40% since the company decided that they should "encourage" us to find other sources of insurance for our spouses (i.e. the company decreased their share of what they've paid in years past by about 8%). That's grand if your spouse has a job where they offer benefits.

Yeah, in a year when the company is profitable enough that they are probably going to award bonuses, and insurance premiums increased almost nothing at all, they are socking it to me to the tune of $960 a year. That's pretty much my discretionary income for the year. It's also about half of last year's raise, and that was the first raise we'd had in three years.

So, in a time of spiraling unemployment, let's screw over the very people with a history of living modestly on a single income! Yeah, that's the way to economic recovery!

If I see our multi-billionaire owner getting another televised pat on the back for his great philanthropic generosity any time soon I'm also going to be out the cost to replace my televsion... :(

The true irony of it all is that I've been eligible for full disability for over ten years, I have good disability insurance, and the only reason I'm still working is for my health and life insurance (well, that and I'd probably go nuts if I wasn't working).

On the bright side, I ordered a short-scale bass just before I did the open enrollment and realized that next year is going to be a belt tightener. It's probably the last instrument I'll be purchasing any time soon - unless a kazoo counts as an instrument.

John

Mouthy1
11-15-2011, 12:50 PM
YOU are the 99% my friend.

Have you thought about starting your own "Occupy Anything"? You could change the world.

OldePhart
11-15-2011, 01:05 PM
YOU are the 99% my friend.

Have you thought about starting your own "Occupy Anything"? You could change the world.

Heh, heh. The really ironic part is that I'm a pretty conservative, strong work ethic, "company man" kind of guy. Even now I don't have alot of sympathy for the "occupiers" because they're basically just making a big, noisy, ineffective mess without offering any solutions for anything (if you've been following the news closely you know they've caused all kinds of problems for ordinary folk and small business owners just about everywhere they've decided to squat - so far they've done nothing that is going to improve anyone's life even a tiny fraction).

That said, after today I'm a little more sympathetic to their cause, if not their methods... LOL

John

Mouthy1
11-15-2011, 01:19 PM
Yeah, I agree. Here is a very Office Space type of thing to say to them..."Solutions are the answer". I think Eric Cartman said it best when he said "Gxddamn Hippies"

Ronnie Aloha
11-15-2011, 01:32 PM
I'm striving to get into that 1% myself!

Plainsong
11-15-2011, 01:35 PM
Can you learn an indecipherable language? If so, you could move here to work. A visit to the health station costs €11, lab work costs €20, and an overnight stay in the hospital is about the same. The private and public sector share specialists, and when it comes to waiting times... well, to be honest it depends on where you live. In my neighborhood they always see you the same day. And if you have a tiny thing that needs testing, they roll out all the stops, because as one doctor said to me, they already have the equipment, may as well use it.

There is private and public to choose from. The public keeps the private prices more honest. One might think that private is better, but in my experience, a quack doctor is a quack doctor and they're on both sides of the fence. The facilities of public healthstations.. sadly, depend on the neighborhood. Ours is nice. The hospitals are the same no matter how much you pay.

There are all sorts of rules about how much you can be charged for the same chronic problems, but you'd be out of pocket maybe €25 for months worth of tests. And if you couldn't pay that, the social services would help you.

It's free and free. Of course we all pay for it, but it's there when we need it, or not, if we so choose. There are some populist radicals making big speeches of doing away with it, but they're the ones who got rich because they didn't have to pay a dime of employee benefit. The irony isn't lost on most of us, but their trolling for a fight does get them headlines in the tabloids.

No system is perfect, but if I break my leg, it doesn't ruin my life either.

Do you have IT or any kind of R&D type background? Coming here might be something to think of. We also have a solid uke community. :)

OldePhart
11-15-2011, 02:10 PM
Do you have IT or any kind of R&D type background? Coming here might be something to think of. We also have a solid uke community. :)

Oh my, be still my heart! I've got over twenty years developing software as everything from a grunt "code monkey" to senior system architect. I've also got over ten years experience on the hardware end of things, though that's honestly pretty out of date, now. I also would love to live in Finland or almost anywhere in that part of the world.

I was stationed in Iceland for three years when I was a technician in the Air Force (my youngest daughter was born there). I never learned a lot of the language because languages are difficult for me and most of the people I met there spoke English quite well. Still, I loved the people, the culture, the openness, the lack of crime, and even the climate. Their economy was kind of in shambles even back then (this was before their big banking boom and later bust) but in spite of that life was very simple and just...sweet. I loved it there and would seriously have immigrated in a heartbeat but their immigration was very, very strict - at least back in the mid 80's.

Now, though, I have the feeling I would have to get a divorce to move to someplace nice as all but one of my grandkids are here in Texas (four of them just moved back from Oregon this month) and I suspect I'd not be able to pry my wife away from them for more than a week or two. :)

John

Plainsong
11-15-2011, 03:09 PM
Yeah everyone here speaks English, but HR will use language as a barrier to foreigners anyway. I say barrier because as I said, everyone speaks English and it is in fact the official language of so many Finnish companies. I've had a tough time learning Finnish. My (Finnish) husband hates speaking it, and doesn't want to speak it at home after doing so all day (he's one of the Swedish-speaking minority). But I can't blame him entirely. If I can understand the gist of most things and manage a few phrases, then back home it makes me a genius. Here, where everyone speaks 4 languages, it makes me a bit... special. :o

There's a few local uke players who work at the same IT company (not Nokia), but your wife might object to the winters here. It's just a tad bit colder than Texas. ;)

When I say tad, of course, I mean the system of measurement in Airplane II: about half a million miles.

haolejohn
11-15-2011, 03:10 PM
John you could be in my shoes. Raise???Let's say furlough days for three years straight. Insurance increase??? Let's say a $250 a month increase. Yeah but I am being told that I went into it for the children and not the money and that I should be thankful I have a job:) No mo ukes for me...heck I am even selling mine to fund child care:(

shrink9
11-15-2011, 06:27 PM
I want to chime in on this issue. I am a healthcare provider and cannot get anything better than a catastrophic insurance policy ($5,000 deductible per year and then coverage equivalent to Medicaid). It sucks royally. I work 60-hour weeks (and have for years) yet am not healthy enough to buy a decent insurance policy.

Further, this December, BlueCross and BlueShield of Illinois is giving us a raise in reimbursement--the first in over 10 years. There has to be a better way than this. More and more companies are leaving BCBS and purchasing policies with Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, etc., which pay providers significantly less.

I love my work and wouldn't do anything else; however, I wish that insurance companies had to provide insurance coverage to all applicants instead of only selecting the "cream of the crop" to insure.

mds725
11-15-2011, 07:08 PM
I think people should "out" their employers. I don't believe companies can any longer be shamed out of doing or not doing something, but as a consumer I'd like to be able to stop buying goods and services from companies that have employment policies I don't like.

Uke Republic
11-15-2011, 07:12 PM
Yep being self employed I get that $5000.00 deductible as well. Maybe all the uke players with stink-o insurance could band together and get a break somehow. Probably down to $4999.99 deductible :)

OldePhart
11-16-2011, 12:25 PM
John you could be in my shoes. Raise???Let's say furlough days for three years straight. Insurance increase??? Let's say a $250 a month increase. Yeah but I am being told that I went into it for the children and not the money and that I should be thankful I have a job:) No mo ukes for me...heck I am even selling mine to fund child care:(
Yeah, I know there are folks worse off than me. It still chaps my hide though. I mean, I wouldn't even complain if it was an austerity measure because times are tough and the company was on the rocks. I didn't complain two years ago and the year before that when we had to take furloughs. This year, that's not even close to being the case. We're having a profitable year, we've expanded our market share in somewhat of a "niche" industry, and the actual costs of coverage to the company didn't increase by any significant amount this year. They just figured a way they could squeeze another nickle of profit out for the big dogs. That it just happened to screw over the very people who could least afford it because either by choice or necessity they are living modestly as a single income household wasn't a factor.

This same company laid off a huge group of people right after 9/11 - then proceeded to have the most profitable year they'd ever had! Our group lost 75% of our people even though there wasn't a significant drop in work needing to be done for our group. That is actually still hurting us, ten years later, because, surprise, when they wanted those people back a few months later they'd all moved on to other things. Our group was basically a 'brain trust' for how the company puts product in front of the customers. Unlike most layoffs I've been through where it was pretty obvious which folks would be hitting the door and that they wouldn't be greatly missed - every one of those people let go out of our group was a top ten-percenter when it comes to performance and ability. Just dumb!

In the previous fifty years, when the company was run by the founder, they had never had a layoff. The founder was miserly and could pinch a nickle 'til it gave up a dime, and he could be a bit of pain to work with, but he also had pride in the company and the fact that he'd taken care of the people who helped him build it. Most of the top executives in the company had been with the company thirty years or more. When he got up in years and sold it to a well-known investment group all that changed. Now it's all about maximizing profit and if a few hundred little people need to go under the bus so they can squeeze another nickel in profit that's exactly what's going to happen.


John

webby
11-16-2011, 02:54 PM
If you live in the west, have access to a computer, the internet, electricity, any kind of health services and food in the shops to buy then you are inthe top 5% of humans anyways.

You dont see anyone in ethiopia or zimbabwe complaining about health insurance because they dont have a health system at all.

Sometimes it pays to be thankfull and positive about the things we have, not just be focussed on the negatives, it's a state of mind thing, the grass is always greener maybe but there are many many people worse off and I personally am gratefull for the things I have.

ukuhippo
11-16-2011, 08:43 PM
Heh, heh. The really ironic part is that I'm a pretty conservative, strong work ethic, "company man" kind of guy. Even now I don't have alot of sympathy for the "occupiers" because they're basically just making a big, noisy, ineffective mess without offering any solutions for anything.

Hear hear. I'm far from conservative and probably we would disagree on just about everything regarding politics ;) , but I just don't get it why people think camping on the streets is gonna solve anything. Get a job.
Here in the Netherlands they did some good though: Homeless people seized the opportunity and spend a few nights sleeping with a tentroof above their heads.

Plainsong
11-17-2011, 01:31 AM
The solution to unemployment: Get a job.

It was all so simple. Why didn't we figure that out before. :rolleyes:

Uke Whisperer
11-17-2011, 01:38 AM
Ditto to EVERYTHING ABOVE...... from Insurance, Profit Sharing, Retirement/Pension other benefits, all that were part of initial hire package as "should be counted as salary". I am sure that the founder of the company (founded in 1928) that I worked for, for 39 years, has rolled over in his grave hundreds of times in the past few years. (It "ain't" what it use to be!) With all the changes (losses in and out of the workplace) that have occurred, I found myself what I considered between a rock and a hard place last fall. With lost benefits and further changes coming, included but not limited to possible relocation, I decided to pull the plug. I can say without a doubt, that the Ukulele has played a major role in keeping me sane the last year!

mds725
11-17-2011, 04:12 AM
Health care for everyone -- what has become known in the US as "single payer" health care -- doesn't require socialism. One of the tactics opponents of any reform to the delivery of health care have used is to accuse anyone with any reform idea of being a socialist, which is a bad word here. This led to the vey odd Tea Party protest, "keep the government out of health care, and don't touch my Medicare." Medicare eligibility for everyone might have worked -- it would have provided an option for those unable to get insurance elsewhere and would have forced private insurers to compete directly with Medicare, which has much lower administrative costs than private insurers do.