Business, Lifestyle

Why I am hating health insurance right now

The first year of Obamacare, I went to great pains to choose an insurance company my doctor took, only to have him tell me in 2014 that he didn’t take it. Last year, I once again went to great pains to choose an insurance company my doctor took, only to be told when the year began that he did not take it. I had to have my insurance broker — whose services I engaged the second time around — tell them that, yes, indeed, they had signed a contract to take my insurance. When I finally saw my doctor after over a year without insurance he took, I overheard him say to one of his associates “he has some Obamacare thing.” That “Obamacare thing” was a company I had never heard of — Meritus — which is now bankrupt.

So now I have to switch health insurance plans yet again, and neither one of the two doctors I listed in my application takes a single one of the 69 plans available to me— from bronze to platinum. One of them, a specialist, told me on the phone that they are still working out contracts. Really?? Seriously?? You’ve got to be kidding me. We are halfway into the 45-day open enrollment period, people!! My insurance dies on December 31st. The site says they do not yet have all the data from providers about who will accept which plans, and the doctors I go to tell me they do not yet have access to all the information they need in order to know which plans they will accept.

Health insurance companies cannot seem to make decent websites or mobile apps, either. In the last few years, I have had Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Health Net, and Meritus. None of them had a website that allowed me to do what I needed to do. What is more, when I look at the App Store to see which insurance companies make the best iPhone apps, what I find is that every single insurance company app is rated one out of five stars. The typical reviews are: “crap,” “useless,” and “crashes.” And don’t even get me started on

And then there is cost. I was spending over $500 a month before Obamacare on a COBRA plan I kept after quitting a job. I was thrilled to find my first Obamacare plan for just over half the cost of my COBRA plan. The next year, the best I could do was a plan for $328. This year, it looks like the best I can do is a plan for $336. In two years, cost has crept up over 25%. If that keeps up, I’m going to back to spending over $500 a month by 2018.

Do I hate Obama? No. I voted for him two terms in a row. But I sure hate health insurance right now. Ugh!







Communication, Lifestyle

Banning the words male & female? Not quite

Based on the hype and misunderstanding I see on the links people post on social media, and the way some media outlets distort the truth, I am concerned that many people don’t think to look past headlines to read actual stories— and to seek out primary sources. Case in point: if you only read the headlines last week, you might think the entire University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) banned the words male and female. I did not believe the hype, so I took it upon myself to read past the headlines. This is what I found from an article in The Washington Post:

“Use of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, classist, or generally offensive language in class or submission of such material will not be tolerated,” professor Selena Lester Breikss’s syllabus read. “This includes ‘The Man,’ ‘Colored People,’ ‘Illegals/Illegal Aliens,’ ‘Tranny’ and so on — or referring to women/men as females or males.” (Breikss, 2015 as quoted by Moyer, 2015)

Notice it was only one teacher saying that the words male and female would not be tolerated, and only when used as nouns, not as adjectives. I am sure many teachers would not want students to refer to people as adjectives, just as you might not want somebody to call a blind person “a blind” or a deaf person “a deaf.”

I am not a fan of banning words, but I do believe teachers should prepare their students to be writers in the workplace. Stylebooks of publishing houses and influential associations such as the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook and American Psychological Association (APA) all have words they deprecate. Another teacher at UTK writes this in their syllabus in “A Note on [In]appropriate Terminology”:

Not “illegal alien” or “illegals” but “undocumented” migrants/immigrants/persons. Note that the Associated Press (AP) has determined not to use it: ‘The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.’ (Fowler, 2015 as quoted by Moyer, 2015)

One may or may not agree with these professors, but it behooves one to cut through the hype and read critically to see what they actually said.


Moyer, J. W. (2 September 2015). Washington State University class bans ‘offensive’ terms like male, female, tranny, illegal alien. Washington, DC: The Washington Post. Retrieved from