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 HealthCare.gov 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 HealthCare.gov 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 HealthCare.gov

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!

 

 

Blog 2014: Adding social media links

Where I learned how to add social media buttons, and where I found them

Today, I added custom social media links to my secondary menu, which appears on the left sidebar in the Twenty-Fourteen WordPress theme I’m using now. I did this because Twenty-Fourteen doesn’t have social links in the theme, and I wanted them near the top of my blog layout. To learn how to add them, I started by reading the WordPress Support article “Add Social Media Buttons to Your Sidebar or Footer.” When I did a Google Image search of ‘free social media icons’, as suggested in the support article, I found my favorite icon set at GraphicsFuel: 20 Popular Social Media Icons (PSD & PNG). Thank you, GraphicsFuel!

What code I used

I used the HTML shown on the support article, but I amended it with a bit of CSS to put some padding (space) to the right and bottom of the buttons so they didn’t look stuck together. While I was at it, I took the width and height properties out of the HTML and put them into the CSS where they belong (since they are style, not structure). Here is a sample of the style code I added to the img element for my customization:

style="width:35px;height:35px;padding-right:5px;padding-bottom:5px;"

How it looks today

Of course things will change with time as I change themes or widgets, but here is what my blog looks like as of this writing, with the new social media button links I added to the left sidebar:

A screenshot of the front page of my blog on July 7, 2014
A screenshot of the front page of my blog on July 7, 2014

Why I wrote this

I always like to share what I learn with others who might benefit, and I like to give credit where it’s due. I hope you find it helpful. Please let me know.

Link

A cool site for designing color schemes

I recommend Work With Color’s Color Schemer to get complementary colors and multi-color palettes for blogs. To customize two of my blogs, I used the OS X color picker “eye dropper” to copy the color of an element of a blog’s default style and find out what the color’s hexadecimal code was. Then I entered the hex code it into this site, clicked some buttons, and it showed me color schemes to create a pleasing palette.

WordPress themes not showing author bylines explained

The other day, I expressed my concern on the WordPress Support Forums that my author bylines were gone from my posts in this blog using the Twenty Twelve theme. Today I got a response from staff explaining that, because of feedback from the WordPress community, they started using CSS (the style markup that composes the themes) to hide the author byline on some, but not all, themes. This makes the byline invisible in the normal, theme/CSS-enabled view, but if you view the page without the theme/CSS you will see the bylines.

Screenshot courtesy of Josh, a WordPress Happiness Engineer
Screenshot courtesy of Josh, a WordPress Happiness Engineer

This means the search engines can read the bylines and verify authorship. I checked this with Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool and found the search engine did, in fact, read my byline and verify my authorship. This is good to know!

For anyone who knows HTML and CSS and is curious, here is the HTML:

<span class="by-author"> by <a title="View all posts by Daniel Greene" href="https://danielgreene.com/author/danielgreene/" rel="author">Daniel Greene</a></span>

And here is the CSS that does the trick:

.by-author&nbsp;{display:&nbsp;none;}

If you are interested in viewing the code on your own blog, there are various ways to view source code.

WordPress.com themes that support post formats, WordAds, and bylines

I’ve been looking for a theme that will support my WordAds account, support post formats, and show my byline. As of this writing, only 57 out of 206 themes support post formats. Only 24 support post formats and WordAds. I wonder how many of those 24 show bylines. Let’s see: (more…)

WordPress.com themes that display author bylines

Update:

This post is superseded by Blog 2014: Free WordPress themes that display bylines.


Original Post:

(You can skip to my findings if you like.)

To get the best search results for your blog, you will want to verify authorship with Google. Google requires web pages to have bylines such as “By Daniel Greene” or “Posted by Daniel Greene” to verify authorship. If you want to verify authorship of your whole blog, you need to have your byline on the front page. When I went to sign up for authorship, Google showed me that some of my blogs did not show my byline. I soon realized it was due to the themes on each blog. I found that by changing the theme to one that showed my byline, I was able to get Google to verify my authorship. That’s when I started trying out various themes to see which ones showed bylines.

After some random trials, I decided to search for existing knowledge. One blog post titled WordPress.com Changes Bylines for Authors said of WordPress.com, “bylines will only display now if there are at least two authors who both have at least one published post in the blog” (timethief, 2012). The author cited a WordPress.com News post titled More Custom Headers, Color Schemes, & Theme Improvements (Steward, 2011). I read it and I saw nothing in that post about displaying bylines. Another blog post titled Author and profile displayed or not (Panos, 2009, 2011) had a detailed list of themes up to December 2011. Since timethief’s findings did not match my own, and since Panos’ list did not include any themes from 2012 — a prolific year for the WordPress.com theme team! — I compiled a list of my own.

The way I found out which themes showed bylines and which did not was to preview themes on my main blog, danielgreene.com. Starting on the front page, I looked for a byline at the top of the first post on the front page and at the bottom of the post where some of the themes put the byline. When I found no byline at either the top or bottom of the first post on the front page, I clicked on the title of the second post to see if the byline showed on the post page. In most cases, themes that didn’t show bylines on the front page did show bylines on the post page, but a few themes showed bylines nowhere. Here is where the (free, not Premium) WordPress.com themes of 2012 (up to September) display and don’t display bylines:

Front page and post page

  • Able
  • Grisaille
  • Ideation & Intent
  • Origin
  • Blaskan
  • San Kloud
  • Retro-fitted

Post page only

  • Sight
  • Ever After
  • Lovebirds
  • Balloons
  • The Columnist
  • Yoko
  • Skylark
  • Oxygen
  • Ari
  • Sunspot
  • Sundance

Neither front page nor post page

  • Mixfolio
  • Triton Lite
  • Twenty Twelve
  • Vintage Camera

Please comment if this was helpful or if you got different results than I did.