Healthcare Sign Up: New and Improved

I signed up for healthcare coverage for 2015 at Healthcare.gov. Unlike last year, absolutely no problems with the system. The only hiccup occurred with United Healthcare when I tried to review its provider network—that system seems to be unable to stand the load. The government site, though, was a piece of cake.

I was able to get a plan that was about a third of what I paid this year. It’s more of a managed plan where I have to use a set of providers, but I’m OK with the providers. I stayed with Coventry because they provided good coverage this year, and they seem to be the only provider who has its online act together.

Only one problem with this year’s sign up, and it’s bureaucratic not system specific: proving income.

To be eligible, I have to mail (hard copy), or upload proof of income for 2015. I have to send in one of the following:

   Wages and tax statement (W-2)
 · Pay stub
 · Letter from employer
 · Self-employment ledger
 · Cost of living adjustment letter and other benefit verification notices
 · Lease agreement
 · Copy of a check paid to the household member
 · Bank or investment fund statement
 · Document or letter from Social Security Administration (SSA)
 · Form SSA 1099 Social Security benefits statement
 · Letter from government agency for unemployment benefits

I’m a self-employed writer, which means my income is erratic. According to the notice, the self-employment ledger can be pre-filled in with estimates. I keep a spreadsheet, which I guess will have to become my self-employment ledger. Or I can send a copy of my lease or bank statement, but that doesn’t really prove my income. It’s bizarre, and more than a little irritating.

There’s a thing called the 1040—why this isn’t acceptable, I don’t know.

Anyway, I’m all finished. Now what the hell will the GOP have to bitch about if they can’t bitch about Healthcare.gov?

The Pledge

I was extremely pleased and surprised to hear that an appellate court has ruled that reciting the Oath of Allegiance is unconstitutional because of the phrase “…under God”.

Not everyone believes in a God, nor do all religions support the concept of taking an oath. In both cases, the daily oath makes kids who don’t participate feel like outsiders, especially in today’s frenzied patriotic environment.

The Oath of Allegiance and coating our cars, homes, and bodies with variations of red, white, and blue are cheap and easy ways to show our patriotism. Much simpler to say an Oath than to carefully pursue details of bills pending in Congress, or to vote based on individual merit rather than party affiliation.

Not all webloggers are so pleased as I. Amidst a tangled web considers this a giant step back, saying As a big fan of God, I hope he gets to stay in the USA. At Boboroshi.com:

It’s gotten to the point where society is evicting any piece of religion from anything political. The problem exists that, in evicting religion from our society and becoming completely secularized, those who have excised religion have not been able to replace its moral teachings.

Our society was based on a secular government, a nation whereby church and state are separated. This does not preclude the practice of religion, but does put religious practice where it belongs: celebrated by individuals in their own space, their own time, protected by law.

As for the “moral teachings” of religion, there is no religion – none – that doesn’t have incidents in its past that the modern practitioners of same would just as soon forget. And there have been few wars fought that didn’t have a kernel of religion at their core – including the current conflicts in the Middle East. In actuality, morality, or lack thereof, is a matter of individual responsibility rather than religious affiliation.

Perhaps we should create a new Oath – one with a bit broader base:

I give my promise
to all of humanity
to support freedom in all its forms.

And to the world
in which we live
one world, indivisible
I support liberty and justice for all

I can live with this.