[Baypiggies] Career Advice

Elizabeth Leddy elizabeth.leddy at gmail.com
Wed Feb 16 21:20:25 CET 2011

I want to chime in on the insurance part too, and from a "young" persons
perspective. I went solo and got disaster insurance since I'm super healthy
and active. It covered no maintenance, and was an 8500 max out of pocket,
but it was $60 a month. Lo and behold I got into a bike accident and ended
up with a $32,000 medical bill. You would think that all I owed would be
8500 (which I had diligently saved up) but $12,000 later and I still
am battling the bills.  These insurance companies will find any excuse not
to pay things, even if things happen in emergency, so BE CAREFUL. And
be diligent - you have to be ready to fight these guys and their croons. The
cheap stuff is enticing but its classic "too good to be true". I hired a
medical biller (with cake and cookies) to review the contract with the next
company I went with. Or ask on this list - I'm sure we all have opinions on
who sucks (e.g I recommend avoiding anthem blue cross... evil....).

I will say that going out on my own, more than anything, has lead me to
realize what a disaster the medical system is. It's only when you actually
see bills coming in that you realize what is being spent on your care. For
that eye opening chance I am grateful. In theory, the reform will help us
out by giving us a [small] tax credit since we are our own employers. Who
knows what will happen before 2012 though. The change that will affect
things this year, is that you can only write off medical costs that are >
10% of your total income (vs 7.5% last year). So if you get sick, scrounge
up those receipts and hold on tight.

In the meanwhile, you can join the freelancers union and check to see if
there is insurance in your area (dental too):

Or just marry an illegal citizen so they can get a job with insurance and
you can go on their plan. Win-win. I'm sure republicans would just love that


On Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 11:39 AM, Tung Wai Yip <tungwaiyip at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Good point about medical insurance. I wonder if the upcoming health care
> reform
> will change that. Medical insurance is one issue that dissuade me from free
> lancing or working for early stage or unfunded startup, which may have
> minimal
> or no medical coverage. The employment based health care insurance is tying
> people to large companies and is not helpful in this new economy.
> Wai Yip
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Roderick Llewellyn <roderick at sanfransystems.com>
> To: baypiggies at python.org
> Sent: Wed, February 16, 2011 10:46:53 AM
> Subject: [Baypiggies] Career Advice
> Hello,
> I just wanted to put my two cents in one Steve Piercy's advice. I agree
> with a
> lot of what he says. But when he says "I set aside my fears of not having
> medical benefits", I have some cautions there based on my experience. I too
> gave
> up on them when I went to doing all contract work. I acquired individual
> insurance. As long as you can get that, get it right now. The problem is
> that
> when you reach about 50 years old (I know that for some of you that seems
> basically infinitely far away.... let me assure you that it is not, and
> this
> advice is meant for you!), you become extremely undesirable customers for
> insurance companies. You will get endless offers from car, fire, and life
> insurance firms, but you won't hear word 1 from medical insurance
> companies.
> They will use any possible excuse to deny you coverage. Again, if you are a
> 20
> something or even in your 30s, this seems totally irrelevant: insurance is
> cheap, you never get sick, you really would rather have a fast car, and
> hey,
> you're immortal, right?
> Now what happened to me was I took a full time job with good medical
> coverage,
> and my own insurance was getting expensive, so I dropped my individual
> coverage.
> Within a year I tired of the full time job and quit. Lo and behold, since I
> no
> longer had individual coverage, no firm was obligated to cover me (thank
> you
> Republicans!). So they all turned me down. In America, you have no right
> whatsoever to medical insurance. That's what we call "capitalism". What it
> means
> is that if you have a major disaster, you will be essentially bankrupted.
> Everything you have made in your entire life will be dissolved to pay for
> that
> liver transplant or whatever.
> As long as you have an existing individual plan, very easy to obtain when
> you
> are young and healthy (but not, unfortunately, immortal), and you keep
> paying
> your premiums, your insurer will keep you on and cannot kick you out. You
> want
> to do this until you are eligible for Medicare. Again, I know this seems so
> far
> away as to be practically unimaginable to many of you, but consider that
> all the
> retirement plans, 401Ks, stock equity you're drooling over, that house you
> picked up cheap during our bust, etc.... all could be lost because of one
> disease. Even that fast car! So it's pointless to plan for all of those
> things
> and not focus on this insurance issue.
> This is the true tyranny of the American system. If you are a full-time
> employee, you get free or nearly free medical coverage. But if you leave
> employment, you only get Cobra (which by the way if you are gay, it does
> cover your partner, because it's a Federal program and as you probably
> know, the
> Feds only recognize the existence of gay people in one context: you can't
> serve
> in the Army), which lasts 18 months (plus 18 more covered by California).
> Once
> that time expires, you are on your own. And if you are now 50, forget about
> getting medical insurance. This in turn will force you to take full time
> work to
> get coverage. But guess what: hi-tech firms want to hire 50 year olds about
> as
> much as medical insurance companies want to cover them!
> So my advice is to think very carefully about this issue. Don't just assume
> that
> "if I need it I can get it". That's like saying "I won't buy fire insurance
> until my house burns down." Surely you don't think the insurance companies
> are
> that stupid, do you?
> Good luck,
> Rod Llewellyn
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