Posted on

The Horror of Health Insurance for the Self-Employed

dead man cartoon

Some pine for the good ole days of their childhood or early romances. I pine for the good ole days of health insurance.

When I first became fully self-employed, I had a decent Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plan for about $99 per month. The deductible was reasonable, the coverage was adequate and my doctor accepted it.

Then Obamacare came along.

My existing health insurance plan instantly went extinct, as it didn’t include all the added baggage every policy now had to have. Like breast milk pumps and pregnancy care, even if you were a woman not planning on children. Even if you were a man.

Those needless novelties skyrocketed health insurance premiums through the ozone, with any plan that offered anything near my former benefits starting around $750 per month.

For several years, I went for the chintziest insurance options just to cover major, unexpected accidents. Like the kettle-corn motorcycle crash, and the hair-dye chemical in my eye. My deductible was $10,000, my premium was hovering around $250 per month, and I was lucky my doctor accepted it since it had some weirdo name most folks have never heard of.

Then the premiums stared going up. Like every three months. By $40 a pop. Damn hair dye urgent care bills must have finally landed on the insurance company’s desk. So I told the company to go fly a kite.

Of course, I did this during open enrollment, when I could actually get a different plan. I landed on this really, really cheap option called short-term health insurance and went for it. Word of advice: Don’t.

Short-Term Health Insurance Risks

While the premium was less than $200 per month, the coverage was pretty much zilch. The deductible was still in the $10K range, and I had to get a new policy every three months. What cemented the belief that I was in a losing proposition was my prescription prices.

It was actually CHEAPER to buy prescription medication on a cash-only basis with no insurance than it was to use the prescription deal included with my plan. And that’s not the biggest horror story I heard about short-term health insurance.

A woman on a short-term plan had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the plan merrily covered her bills – until her three-month term was up. The insurance carrier then dropped her, refusing to provide a new policy. She was now left with a pre-existing condition that pretty much ruled out any plan acceptance and a mountain of medical bills she had to pay out of her own pocket.

Unless you can get any and all possible medical expenses you’ll ever face crammed into the scant, three-month period for which you’re covered, short-term health insurance is a really bad joke.

Health Marketplace Insurance Risks

Why don’t you just shimmy on over to the health insurance marketplace, some may ask, where you can get reimbursed based on your wages? That option comes with its own headaches and risks. For starters, health marketplace is a crummy name. It sounds like a place you go to buy day-old fruit.

The plans themselves aren’t all that great. They’re also priced more in the $750 range – that’s with a deductible of $14,000.  If that’s not enough to deter you, there’s also the marketplace horror story I heard.

A guy who had low enough wages was getting reimbursed for his health insurance from the marketplace. Then his boss gave him a raise of something like 55 cents per hour. Lo and behold, that was just enough to squeak the guy over the income limit for reimbursement – and he had to pay back some $6,000 now that he was in a higher wage bracket.

So What’s Left?

Sigh. Panicky, nighttime internet searching for a health insurance plan in the middle of July. Filling out those little boxes with your phone number usually results in an avalanche of calls the next morning, but my phone rang about two seconds after hitting “enter” on one of them.

The caller’s name was Jentrey Shannon, and he was an agent with USHEALTH Group. To make a long phone call a short story, his PowerPoint presentation, comparison charts and health insurance perks nearly cemented the deal. Thinking about it for a day sealed it.

While the coverage is not cheap, it’s not $750 per month. And it actually covers things I may even need – without having to pay for pregnancy care and breast milk pumps. This is all good. Even better, of course, is if I never have to file a claim.

But that’s the thing with insurance. It follows the same concept as the umbrella theory. When you have one with you, it never rains. When you forget to take it long, it always ends up pouring.

Want to read about stuff a tad more exciting than health insurance? Get a rynski book. 

Share
Posted on

The Most Ridiculous Email Scam Yet

danger email scam

Maybe it’s a family member supposedly stranded in Nigeria who needs you to send them money, a random person in Topeka who wants to send you a $1 million USD inheritance, or a dire warning that your Apple ID has been compromised (even though you’ve used Apple nothing your entire life).

We’ve all had more than our fair share of email scams, and they keep getting more ridiculous by the millisecond. The latest case in point appears below.

Just when you thought scam emails couldn’t get any more ludicrous, an urgent email from “Wilford Bennett” showed up in my junk email folder. I regularly review my junk mail because, alas, some non-junky mail does end up in there while other obvious crap still streams into my inbox.

In any event, I neither recall the subject line of this bizarre email nor what prompted me to actually open and read it. But here comes the verbatim text below:

Scam Email Text

Note: I left misspellings and other faux pas as is to further highlight the email’s (non)credibility.

From: Wilford Bennett, 915@420.900

rynski, you don’t know me and you’re thinking why you received this e mail, right?

Well, I actually placed a malware on the porn website and guess what, you visited this web site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching the video, your web browser acted as a RDP (Remote Desktop) and a keylogger which provided me access to your display screen and webcam. Right after that, my software gathered all your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook account, and email account.

What exactly did I do?

I made a split-screen video. First part recorded the video you were viewing (you’ve got a fine taste haha), and next part recorded your webcam (Yep! It’s you doing nasty things!).

What should you do?

Well, I believe, $1200 is a fair price for our little secret. You’ll make the payment via Bitcoin to the below address (if you don’t know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).

BTC Address: 18AVxMK2KHimbrTJVEeUYM3LxLfD9RoR3o
(It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it)

Important:

You have 24 hours in order to make the payment. (I have an unique pixel within this email message, and right now I know that you have read this email). If I don’t get the payment, I will send your video to all of your contacts including relatives, coworkers, and so forth. Nonetheless, if I do get paid (after payment, send an email to misszero@protonmail.com), I will erase the video immidiately. If you want evidence, reply with “Yes!” and I will send your video recording to your 5 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, so don’t waste my time and yours by replying to this email.

Why I Knew It Was a Scam

While some email scams may be savvy enough for folks to ALMOST fall for them, this one was a loser from the get-go for several reasons:

  • I don’t visit porn sites. Heck, I’m the type that even gets annoyed when I’m searing for photos to use from royalty-free, free stock photo sites and inevitably photos with “adult content” show up during the most innocuous searches.
  • No one in my household would use my computer to visit porn sites. The dogs have their own computer and, besides, their porn consumption has decreased dramatically ever since both have been neutered.
  • If my webcam did record anything I did, it would show me boringly sitting at my computer typing.
  • The ransom is way too low. C’mon, if “Wilford Bennett” did indeed have embarrassing video footage of a person as outlined, you’d think the person would pay more than $1,200 to stop it from hitting the masses, no?

The Bottom Line

Even if email scams are obviously not getting more sophisticated, they are indeed getting more amusing. A round of applause for “Wilford Bennett” for creating the most amusingly ridiculous one yet.

Share
Posted on

Meet Harvey the Hell Cat: Art Therapy Project

art therapy emotional turmoil

He’s flattened. He’s wincing. His wide eyes are filled with fear. Heck, he even has a fear portal located keenly above his solar plexus where fear can be pumped in or sucked out, depending on the mood of the day.

He’s Harvey the Hell Cat, and he’s one creepy creature indeed (who happens to look smashing on my living room wall).

While Harvey the Hell Cat may seem like a peppy enough project to be done for fun, he was actually the result of yet another intriguing art therapy topic from Tucson’s Dr. B.

  • Topic: Emotional Turmoil
  • Result: Harvey the Hell Cat, a kooky critter crafted out of papier-mache-like clay then painted with dark colors. Additional details include eyes made from a metal washer and nut, sheet-metal teeth, and the aforementioned fear portal framed by gold and blue hues.
art therapy emotional turmoil

Why a flattened cat?

Flattened cats have a strong link to my past emotional turmoil, one of which was the star of an incident back in Brooklyn. When my then-boyfriend’s cat was dying, the cat waited until I came home one day to perform his final dying ceremony. It came complete with a swan song.

He crawled into the center of the room, laid on his side, and let out the loudest, most distressing extended cat yeowl I’ve ever heard in my life. I tried comforting him as he continued, until taking his very last breath.

I still get goosebumps thinking about it, especially what I called in a poem “his glazed eye filled with fear.”

Fear of death has kicked up plenty of emotional turmoil in me over the years, although I’m learning to deal with it by reaffirming my belief that yes, our souls live onward and no, I won’t come back as a picnic table.

Is Harvey the Hell Cat for sale?

You bet!

While I cannot part with the original Harvey the Hell Cat, I’d be delighted to make you one of your very own, using any colors you wish. Order now at the rynski etsy shop.

Enjoy!

Share
Posted on

Thinking of a Midnight Flight? Maybe Think Again

moonlight san diego

Despite being known as the red-eye, a midnight flight may sound pretty groovy. You get to drive to the airport long after rush hour. The check-in and security lines are less hectic, the airport less crowded and the wait less harrowing.

Once you board the plane, all you need to do is plop on your noise-cancelling headset, put on a meditation CD, and quickly fall asleep. Sleeping will be easy, you say, since it’s during your normal bedtime, right?

You may as well start laughing now. Better yet, start crying, which is something that will happen anyway if your midnight flight goes anything like mine did.

An Easy Start

I tried a midnight flight from Arizona to Florida. Nonstop was not an option at any hour, and midnight was the only flight that didn’t have a layover of at least four hours. Let’s try it, said I, see what happens.

The drive to the airport was smooth, as were the check-in and security lines. The airport was kind of creepy-cool without its usual hustle and bustle. The plane boarded easily and on time.

A Rocky Middle

Then the real fun began. I plopped on my headset, inserted meditation CD, and was drifting blissfully off to sleep when BLAM!

The woman behind me decided to use my head as some kind of kind of support shelf for standing up. Her entire forearm meatily landed across the entire top of my skull, knocking my headset asunder and any bliss right out of my mind.

She had apparently lost her balance or something and apologized immediately. But the damage had already been done.

A Horrific End

Sleep was lost, but I could at least still meditate, no? I continued to breathe deeply as instructed by the meditation stuff I’ve always read: in through my nose, out through my mouth. In through my nose, out through my mouth. Deeper and deeper, in through my nose, out through my mouth, as the Hemi-Sync CD played on.

At about the fifth inhale, I noticed a rancid stench permeating my nostrils. At first I thought someone just had gas and the odor would fade away. But instead it got stronger. Stronger. And even stronger. Inhaling through my nose at all was no longer an option, deeply or otherwise. Even breathing through my mouth was making my eyes water.

It ended up the kid next to me had pooed his pants.

By the time the parent woke up and took the tot to the bathroom, more damage had already been done from this one. Not only to the air around us, but also to the airplane seat. The kid, alas, had been beyond diaper age so the seat had no protection. The parent came back with a stack of airplane bathroom towels to cover the seat for the duration of the flight.

Although the odds of getting smashed across the the skull and permeated with poo smell may be slim on subsequent midnight flights, the flight can still be a painful experience if you don’t get any sleep. And based on the potpourri of pitfalls available, the chances of not getting sleep may be extremely high indeed.

Bon voyage!

Looking for something to pass the time on any flight? Snag one of rynski’s books today!

Share
Posted on

carving knife (poem)

old man dog

Sometimes when

chopping apples I am

stopped

by thoughts

of mary

 

who was drunk when her

wayward electric knife

carved her forearm

instead of

the ham

 

the doctors said permanent damage

from ligaments sliced straight to bone

 

the next day

she changed

her habits – learned

to drink with her

other hand.

 

-ryn.02.12.18

Share