Tag Archive for insurance

Fireworks & Your Insurance

Independence Day is this weekend. Traditionally, we celebrate the 4th of July by setting off fireworks in our yard or maybe in the middle of our court. Add a bit of alcohol to the participants, and carelessness can lead to injury and property damage. That’s why fireworks of all kinds, even the “Safe and Sane” variety, are banned in many places.

Here’s the thing. If they are banned, that means they’re illegal. If you set off illegal fireworks and they hurt someone or burn down your house, your homeowner’s insurance (or any insurance) will NOT cover you. You’ll be left to bear the financial burden totally yourself. (This, of course, is on top of the fine you’ll get.) If you burn down someone else’s house (or nearby business), their insurance company will pay to rebuild their home–then sue you to get their money back.

So, take this into consideration when those fireworks look so tempting. I hope you’ve learned what most of us have, that the idea that “it won’t happen to me” is totally untrue and a dangerous premise to base your actions on.

Please have a safe holiday without fireworks. My property and my dog will thank you.

How to Recognize a Robocall

The AARP has put out a short informative article, titled How to Recognize a Robocall, that is worth paying attention to. It discusses four major fraudulent calls most of us are repeatedly getting, especially older adults, whom the scammers deem easy targets. Those calls relate to health insurance, missed jury duty, Social Security being cut off, and a request the person supposedly made to alleviate their pain. Read this article, be aware, and make sure your older loved ones are vigilant when answering the phone.

Women Pay $500 More than Men for Insurance

It’s a widespread belief that men pay more for automobile insurance than women. But that’s only true for young adults.

Several studies in 2018 and 2017 revealed that women over 25, particularly those between 40 and 60, often pay more than men — not less — for auto insurance, all other rating criteria being equal. Now, California has become the latest in a handful of states that have outlawed setting rates for automobile insurance based on gender.

This is the start of an informative article  from Huff Post, titled Car Insurance Companies Charge Women Higher Rates Than Men Because They Can.

Read  about this inequality, what California has done about it, and insurance companies’ answer.

Reverse Mortgage–Boon or Steal?

Now I’m getting offers for a “Home Equity Conversion Mortgage,” although it sure seems like a “Reverse Mortgage” to me. Rules are the same. If you’re considering one, figure out if you can live with those rules (from AAG mailing):

  • You must occupy your house as your primary residence. [Reasonable.]
  • You must pay for ongoing maintenance, or the loan becomes due and payable. [Does the loan default if they decide that your maintenance isn’t adequate?]
  • You pay all taxes and insurance. [Can be expensive.]
  • Loan is due and payable, and maybe foreclosed on, when you, (the borrower) or “eligible [whatever that is] non-borrowing surviving spouse” dies, sells the house, moves out permanently [can mean into a nursing home], defaults on taxes or insurance payments, “or does not otherwise comply with the loan terms [you know, all that legalese in the fine print that’s hard to read or understand or is vague enough for them to interpret it their way].

By the way, you still pay interest, because it’s still a loan. And your income taxes get complicated.

Pass on this information to all your older friends and relatives before they sign on to one of these “fantastic deals”!

 

Don’t Get Sick!

I’m sorry.  I usually try to avoid politics. But something is greatly bothering me. It relates to all those people who are in the middle–not super rich or super poor, just trying to make ends meet for their families.

Our lawmakers are trying to revise the health care system, and, in the process, are making it so a whole bunch of people can’t afford insurance. Not poor enough for subsidies and not rich enough to afford high insurance prices and co-pays without sacrificing other necessities. At the same time, they’re proposing to “improve” the income tax system by doing away with medical deductions.  Talk about being hit in two directions at once!

I’m concerned.  No, I’m worried.  Who will protect our vulnerable sick citizens

Do You Know this About Your Car Insurance?

I learned the hard way.  I thought I was covered and financially protected from bad guys.  Not quite true.

I came out of a store, loaded with groceries, only to find that someone had damaged my car.  There was no note, and no culprit in site.  A hit-and-run.  My insurance agent said No problem–it’s  covered and, since it wasn’t my fault, I wouldn’t have to pay the deductible.  He was wrong.

Apparently, because there wasn’t any other person to blame it on, the insurance company had no other person or insurance company to go after to pay for the damage.  Since my company had to pay, they charged me the  deductible (which is pretty hefty).  And this practice is true throughout the insurance industry.

Not your fault, but you have to pay.  Be warned.

In Poverty? It’s Your Own Fault

I’m mad, horrified, disgusted, and a lot more.  As you regular readers know, my Thursday Thoughts quotes are normally positive in themselves or from well-known people who give suggestions on how to improve our world.  Today, though, I just need to vent.

The U.S. (I won’t call him “our”) Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Ben Carson, said this in an interview earlier this week:

“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind.  You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you could give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.”  He went on to say that poverty is the result of lack of determination and proper parenting.

Mr. Secretary, tell that to the mother on the streets because she had nothing left after her divorce and, as a stay-at-home mom, no job skills or experience.  Or to the veteran with PTSD and only minimal access to VA services.  Or the mentally or physically disabled person with no insurance and able–maybe–to get only a table-cleaning job at a fast-food place at non-livable  wages.

As I said, I’m mad, horrified, disgusted, and a lot more.

 

Epipen’s Cost to Us All

I admit.  I have a vested interest in the issue–a granddaughter with a peanut allergy.  I want her to keep carrying a non-expired Epinephrine-dispensing device that can save her life.  Most people know the device as an Epipen (although there is a cheaper alternative a doctor might prescribe, Adrenaclick).

I don’t get it.  Pharmaceutical companies always issue a new product at a high price because “we need to make up for all the money that went into its research and development.”  Then, shouldn’t the price go down rather than up — or  at least stay the same — after almost ten years of their recouping their investment?

Look at the Epipen, at what PHARMACIES have paid over the years for each set of two pens: $100 (2007), $103.50 (2009), $264.50 (July 2013), $461–up 75%! (May 2015), $608.61 (May 2016).  And the price from the pharmacies to consumers, of course, is much higher.

Now Mylan, who makes the Epipen, promises to offer a generic Epipen for around $300 for a two-pack, but that’s the cost to the pharmacies, not to us.  It’s still a lot of money for something that started out at a price of $100, which Mylan figured would cover their R and D costs.

Also, people with such allergies should, to be safe, have two pens with them at all times (in case a second dose is needed), plus two at home and two in in any other home they spend much time in (such as a divorced parent).

Oh, and those pens expire in 12 months.  Expired ones should not be used because the Epiniphrine degrades, making it less effective or totally ineffective.

Yes, insurance covers the pens. There are two hidden costs there, though: the patient’s co-pay and the rise in insurance rates due to such unreasonable medication costs.  A third, devastating cost is in lives lost because a family can’t afford the co-pay or an insurance plan that covers such medications.

I want my granddaughter, and everyone else’s family members, to be taken care of, not to be taken advantage of!

 

 

Unemployed FINALLY Put in their Place

People who lost jobs in the recession got hit twice: once when losing their jobs, then again when nobody would hire someone who had been out of work for six months or a year.  I guess the reasoning was that if people wanted to work rather than sponging off of unemployment insurance they would have found jobs by now.  This may have been true for some people, but certainly not for the majority, who were trying to feed their families on unemployment money, let alone have luxuries like rent and health insurance.

President Obama is trying to change that by going to large employers and asking them to place the long-term unemployed back in line for jobs.  He’s doing it publicly enough that maybe companies who refuse to give up their unreasonable prejudice against the long-term unemployed will be “outed” and embarrassed enough to reconsider.

It’s about time these willing workers are put back into their proper place–the workplace.

 

 

Guest Blog: Wages & the Reality of Farming

Two weeks ago, the Old Testament section that was read at Mass was very striking in light of some of the things we are hearing from the Corporate side in recent news.  The reading was powerful, as read at Mass, but my translation is slightly different and not as strong. However, it talked about the powerful laughing about how they will own all the people and even sell their refuse for profit.  The final line was, “The Lord said, I will never forget what they have done.”

When I was listening to that reading, it brought to mind CEO’s who recently have been bragging that they pay the lowest wages they are allowed to (including less than minimum for tipped workers), and absolutely will never offer benefits to their low-wage workers–that they would make everyone part time in preference to providing health insurance.  But it also called to mind the subsidies that go to the agribusinesses, while masquerading as “saving the family farm”.  (Way back when I was a little girl we were farmers–the family farm of the time was still 40 to 100 acres.  My father campaigned against farm subsidies, because he said they only go to the big farms, and he said they were designed to do away with the small family farm–that was nearly 60 years ago).    There is a recent study that shows there are many, many farms still operated by “family farmers” and only a few corporate giants–but the subsidies mainly go to the few corporate giants–the Monsantos, ConAgras, Tyson Foods.  The study included this paragraph:

“The reality is that farming itself is generally a terrible business. There’s much more—and much easier—money to be made by selling farmers the raw materials of their trade—like seeds, fertilizer, or livestock feed. And there’s also plenty of money in buying farmers’ output cheap (say, corn or hogs) and selling it dear (as, say, pork chops or high-fructose corn syrup). In his excellent 2004 book Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization, Richard Manning pungently describes the situation:

A farm scholar once asked an agribusiness executive when his corporation would simply take over the farms. The exec said that it would be dumb for the corporation to do so, in that it is not free to exploit its employees to the degree that farmers are willing to exploit themselves.”

 Theresa Rieve