Work Life

Late Fall Near the Lake

The Carter Family
The Carter Family

The good news about finishing three full weeks at the home, farm and auto supply store is the company offers health insurance that meets the Internal Revenue Service “minimum value standard” for less money than coverage available through the government’s health insurance marketplace or elsewhere.

The bad news is all of the pay from this full-time job will fund health care insurance, co-pays and deductibles for our family if we seek any care. If we don’t need health care once the coverage goes into effect Feb. 1 that will leave us roughly $150 take home pay per week. We’ll need more than that to pay the rest of our expenses.

Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwistle wrote the song “Keep on the Sunny Side” in 1899:

There’s a dark and a troubled side of life;
There’s a bright and a sunny side, too;
Tho’ we meet with the darkness and strife,
The sunny side we also may view.

Most people know the version Mother Maybelle Carter sang on the 1972 record album Will the Circle Be Unbroken produced by William E. McEuan. I favor the original A.P. Carter version which hearkens back to our family roots in Southwestern Virginia. Dig deep enough and you’ll find we’re shirt tail relatives on the Addington side, which is Mother Maybelle’s maiden name.

Not only may we view the sunny side, keeping there will be the only thing that gives us hope. This first job sets a foundation upon which to build the rest of my worklife.

What else?

In the works are spring at the Community Supported Agriculture project, summer editing at Blog for Iowa, and fall weekends at the apple orchard. These were all discussed during my interview with the home, farm and auto supply company, so getting time off shouldn’t be a problem.

Seed CataloguesThe most excitement I felt in a while was finding the Seed Savers Exchange 2016 seed catalog in the mailbox yesterday.

Someone gave me a packet of their scarlet kale seeds last year and it was a great addition to the garden. Too bad all of my customers are used to getting kale for free, or it could be a source of some income.

It is conceivable I could generate a thousand or so dollars from the garden this year by expanding the planting area and selling excess. Circumstances may have me doing that.

It is a reasonably warm fall day near the lake — a time for hope and getting lost in seed catalogs.

Living in Society Social Commentary

Blogging the ACA

Garden Planning
Garden Planning

When I had my first colonoscopy there was no President Obama, no Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I hadn’t begun blogging, and I was on my employer’s health insurance plan.

The company I worked for would have liked nothing better than to present a cash payment to employees in lieu of paying their 65 percent share of health insurance. However, people they asked wouldn’t go for it.

My second procedure is scheduled Friday and I’m curious to see how it will be paid for by the health insurance plan purchased through the ACA marketplace for some $14,400 annually.

The ACA requires health insurance providers to cover recommended preventive services without any patient cost-sharing such as co-pays and deductibles. A colonoscopy is one of these services.

Information is seeping out through administrative cracks in the health care system. It began with a voicemail from the doctor’s office. My insurance company wouldn’t pay for the sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate and magnesium sulfate solution called a “bowel prep kit.” The kit came with two 6-ounce bottles of the solution and a handy plastic measuring cup. I asked our local pharmacist if I could buy it directly as I remembered it was inexpensive. With a $10 off manufacturer’s coupon it would have been $110, making it worth the trip to the clinic in the county seat to pick up a physician’s sample of the brew.

What I am finding in my limited personal health care is the ACA is peeling off add-on procedures that used to be covered by health insurance. No add-ons to physicals, colonoscopies, and other preventive procedures, at least in my experience.

I don’t know, but the change has to have affected gross margin for these businesses and reduced the cost of health care. Whether savings will be passed on in terms of premium reductions remains to be seen, but I doubt it.

While I didn’t receive a bill for my last physical examination, the hospital sent me a bill for lab tests, which I paid. We’ll see if there are any more cracks in the system after my procedure. If there are, I’ll be posting again.