It's been one month and six days since losing my job and I've been adjusting to the world of being unemployed and it's not bad.
I wanted to schedule an appointment with my surgeon but I technically didn't have health insurance coverage for the past 2 1/2 weeks. I received the COBRA letter confirming my coverage and giving me the details on costs, where to send checks and when they are do. I sent them a check for $3,500 yesterday which should cover me until the end of November. COBRA will run through February 2022 so I will have to look at the public exchanges late 2021. There are plans that I like in MA and OK plans in NH but I am hoping that there's something comparable to what I have now in NH for 2022. I will take a look at what's available in NH for 2021 - if there's something comparable, then that would make things easier. Plans on the public exchanges comparable to what I have now would probably cost more, perhaps up to $2,500/month.
A Biden Administration would likely result in additional options, particularly if he lowers the Medicare age to 60 from 65. But I don't know that I'd choose to go on Medicare. The other changes in his policy proposals probably wouldn't affect me though they would benefit a lot of other people. I am unaware of any policy proposals for healthcare by the current Administration. I do need to keep an eye on any potential legislation coming down the road on healthcare coverage as I'm sure many others here that have similar circumstances.
The only place where I'm still connected to my former employer, outside of COBRA coverage, is the 401k plan and that's getting moved over to an IRA in two weeks (earliest possible date).
My local YMCA has announced that they are opening up the tennis courts this month for group lessons and will be opening them up for general use in October so I un-suspended my membership. The indoor track is open at one of their facilities but I have not used it yet. I haven't used their gyms either. You have to sign up for gym use and they have a limit of ten people using the track at any time. They also close the areas for cleaning a few times per day. The number of infections in my town is currently under 5 as is the number in the city where one of the YMCAs is open - so the risk of infection is tiny at this time. Still, it will feel strange going back to the gym. I am just using my home gym, a local Middle-School track, and the great outdoors as my gym.
We're also working on home remodeling as is just about everyone in the area. I've been looking at finding a larger home as well in a quieter place. We are getting inundated with people moving from Boston for the lower cost of living, lower taxes and lower infection rates. There are 242 cases in New Hampshire but 9,000 cases in Massachusetts. We have the second-lowest number of infections in the United States.
For those outside the US, COBRA is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. If you lose your job or quit, you are eligible to continue coverage with your employer's plan for up to eighteen months (longer if you have certain conditions). But you pay the full cost of coverage. Normally employers pay for part of the insurance and it can be a fairly large part. Health insurance is considered a fairly big perk for working in corporate jobs.
The demographics of employees is the biggest factor in healthcare costs. If you worked in a company with a lot of young employees or a lot of healthy employees, then total insurance costs to the company and employees would be lower, assuming equivalent health insurance. So the risk pool of the company is a big factor in health coverage expenses and, ultimately, costs to the employer and the employees. The public exchanges tend to be more expensive because higher-risk people are typically forced into it because they don't have any other choices. I don't think that there is a requirement anymore to have health insurance though I'm not 100% sure of that. But that means that younger, healthier people can opt out of insurance which makes for overall worse risk pools and higher insurance costs.
I was visiting my mother a few weeks ago to drop off groceries and she told me that all of us (there are four of us that are still alive) are unemployed. I'm 61, my older sister is 62 and my younger sisters are 60 and 58. My older sister worked as a nurse for about 40 years and her hospital is being bought out by a private hospital system. The are going to fire all the employees and have them interview to be hired back. The employees will lose all back sick and vacation time. My sister has significant sick and vacation time (you can accumulate years of this in many hospital systems) and decided to just leave and take a lump sum payment for her benefits. And she has essentially retired. Her husband works a tech job so that they have income and health insurance.
My middle sister hasn't worked for a decade. She has a chemical engineering degree from Penn and Masters from Harvard but she's had significant GI issues and had to stop working. My youngest sister was working in an accounting firm but she has a daughter with special needs and quit to help shepherd her through the end of high-school and getting her into college. Her husband fell into a large inheritance shortly after they got married (this was expected). He doesn't really work but they don't really have to.
My mother pointed out that she worked until she was 87 and that we're all slackers finishing so early (she didn't say that but I think that she thought it). Her benefit, though, is that we have more time to help take care of her.
6/17: ER rectal bleeding; Colonoscopy
7/17: 3B rectal. T3N1bM0. 5.2 4.5 4.3 cm. Lymphs: 6 x 4 mm, 8 x 6, 5 x 5
7/17-9/17: Xeloda radiation
7/5: CEA 2.7; 8/16: 1.9; 11/30: 0.6; 12/20 1.4; 1/10 1.8; 1/31 2.2; 2/28 2.6; 4/10 2.8; 5/1 2.8; 5/29 3.2; 7/13 4.5; 8/9 2.8, 2/12 1.2
MSS, KRAS G12D
10/17: 2.7 2.2 1.6 cm (-90%). Lymphs: 3 x 3 mm (-62.5%), 4 x 3 (-75%), 5 x 3 (-40%). 5.1 CM from AV
10/17: LAR, Temp Ileostomy, Path Complete Response
CapeOx (8) 12/17-6/18
7/18: Reversal, Port Removal
2/19: Clean CT