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How does the math work out for employers? Lets use the same employee making $38,000 as an example. The employer is forced to pay 72.5% of the average premium of $6100, which is $4422.50 or 8% of 38,000 which is $3040. Obviously, dropping the insurance is cheaper for the employer. If the difference in cost were given to the employee directly then the employee still comes out ahead with more cash in his or her pocket. When you go up in the income scale, the incentive is even higher to drop insurance. For example, an employee making $102,000 a year with a family plan would cost an employer around $15000 a year in insurance premiums or simply $8000 in tax penalties. If the difference were given to that employee that employee would still come out ahead by several thousand dollars a year after the tax penalty. That money could be used to pay for preventive care out of pocket.
Finally, lets examine why we have health insurance now. It is to cheap viagra genericagainst future diseases and healthcare consumption. Your insurance doesn’t exactly buy you anything you can use right now. For example, I was pregnant this year, and if I didn’t have health insurance to begin with I would have had to pay quite a bit for the treatment I received. Since pregnancy is a preexisting condition and I would not have been able to buy health insurance anywhere while pregnant. Now if the new law passes, I could buy health insurance while pregnant since it would be illegal to refuse insurance to patients with preexisting conditions. This completely changes the definition of insurance and makes it almost like a coupon program you can join at anytime. Basically, your membership fee is your taxes, and then you can pay a middle layer of insurance companies when you need health care. So, there is really no need to carry expensive health insurance that covers everything when you are healthy because you can enroll anytime.
If all the young and healthy knew how to do basic math, they would be dropping their health insurance and opt for more cash pay as soon as this bill is enacted. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Congress most American public schools aren’t so great so many people would become new insurance company customers because they cannot figure out that 2.5% is less of a penalty than the 15 or 16% they would be required to shell out. I don’t know if this healthcare bill would actually raise the percentage of people who are insured because a lot of people out there do have common sense, and businesses will figure out that the 8% penalty is much less than what they would be required to pay otherwise.
So could you save money with Obamacare? You probably can if you have a preexisting condition and need to consume a lot of health care. On the other hand, this will cost a lot more for those who are young, healthy, or make too much money. In the end, it is just and does not do anything at all to improve the quality of healthcare in this country.
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First, the neighbors next door has completely neglected their backyard. This isn’t exactly something we could fix because we can’t just jump over their fence, pluck out all the weeds, and clean their green pool. I have contacted the public health department regarding their pool because you could see the green and brown slosh from SPACE via satellite photos and it can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I’m not sure if it got cleaned up yet but they did get a ticket from the county. They also have a couple psycho little dogs that barks day and night because they are probably not being fed.
Next, this weekend our home caretakers called us and told us that the water heater broke and it would cost over $1000 to replace it. The water heater is over 20 years old so I guess it was its time. It sprung a leak and damaged the garage’s wall a little bit, too. We had the money to replace it in our emergency fund, but it was still an unpleasant surprise. So I started researching a bit into our insurance policy and I read on the internet that this sort of thing is usually covered by home warranty policies.
I do vaguely remember that in escrow last year my inlaws purchased a one year warranty for us, so it is definitely still valid now, but I was at work so I couldn’t dig through my mountain of home-related paperwork to see what company held the policy. So I called the realtor that took care of the transaction and she told me right away what the warranty company was and the plan number.
I called the warranty company and our insurance company to see what we could do about it, and the warranty company said they would cover the water heater replacement and the insurance company said they would cover water damage on the drywall. The warranty company sent a plumber within 4 hours of my call and replaced the water heater, and they also checked out the drywall and said it is drying enough that it doesn’t need to be replaced. Both my hubby and I were very relieved because we didn’t want the family living there to be without hot water for a very long time. They have been showering in cold water for a couple days now.
It seems that my husband and I are the type of people who are unlucky (or lucky) enough to get the most out of insurances and warranties, so we are considering extending the home warranty when it expires considering that this time it did save us a bunch of money. So I guess the lesson here is to be aware what your home warranty and insurance covers and does not cover. If I hadn’t remembered that we had a warranty then we would have paid for the repair out of pocket. Also, another obvious point is that owning a home is a lot more trouble than just renting.
I definitely do not regret buying the home with the hubby, but I guess things like these make me realize how big of a responsibility it is. I think we are pretty both realistic about the fact that we will not make money from the house and we simply bought it to keep it in the family. I do see the house as a backup plan for possible high inflation because we are , and there is a possibility that we would move down there. So as stupid as it sounds, there is definitely a little bit of joy in knowing that after fifteen or so years we will own a piece of real estate free and clear.
Anyway, we are happy the current problem is fixed, and now we are more aware of what to do the next time something like this happens. I think when we were young our parents took care of a lot of things like these with their homes, and we did not even know or care that much. Live and learn I guess.
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The doctor told us that the due date is 10/31, and my hubby said, “Nooo! I don’t want a Halloween baby!” However, very few women actually deliver on their calculated due dates, so he may not be getting a Halloween baby. Personally, I think that would be kind of neat, because our kid could invite other kids over for costumed birthday parties.
My husband and I are already talking about what leave we could take when the baby arrives. Personally I will have about a month of paid vacation saved up, and then we both can get 6 weeks of The paid family leave is paid at 55% of our salary from the SDI program which we pay into. There is no California income tax on that money and we could spread out the leave between the two of us so it would not be a very big financial strain. I do not think I would qualify for the pregnancy disability leave because my job mostly consists of thinking and typing and I am allowed to work at home. Unless I am ordered by the doctor to bedrest I would not be considered disabled. Anyway, we will both talk to our HR departments soon. All things considered, November is actually a good month to have the baby because there are already many paid holidays in November and December during the holiday season, and it would be more relaxing to take time off then because most other people will be taking time off. Also, we can claim the baby as a tax exemption for the entire year and save some money on taxes.
Another thing we have to consider is which health insurance plan to add our baby to. My husband currently has a PPO plan and I have Kaiser HMO. Right now both of us pay very little for our health insurance because our employers pretty much covered everything. Kaiser is really convenient for us because the hospital is about a mile away and they have everything there. It is likely that we will just add the child to my insurance, and this will cost about $100 more a month.
Anyway, before all of that happens, I have to actually get through this pregnancy. So far my hubby is thankful that I am not puking my guts out. I am actually feeling pretty good and I am eating more than usual. I am also sleeping a lot, so I am blogging quite a bit less. I guess after the baby is born I would also be a “mommy blogger”, but I promise I will not be chronicling every diaper rash.
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First, I got two free meals yesterday since my company had a company meeting and a holiday party. Spouses were invited to the holiday party so my hubby joined me at dinner time. One of the special speakers at our company meeting was supposed to be Ronnie Lott, a former 49er and hall of famer, but he didn’t show up. So instead he sent over seven autographed footballs to be raffled off at our party. Every person got a ticket and when the winners were called the announcer threw the balls to them across the restaurant. The second winner was an extremely excited engineer who held out his hands, but the ball landed straight on his forehead and he was knocked back a bit. Then my husband won the next ball while he was saying he never wins things at raffles. He stood up and the announcer threw the ball at him and he caught it! He received some cheers and applause and he hammed it up a bit by raising his hands straight up with the ball. Neither of us knew who Ronnie Lott is, but the hubby is hoping that he could sell the ball to fund the purchase of an arcade game stick. We looked up the prices online and apparently memorabilia stores sell Ronnie Lott balls for $200 to $300. The hubby was tempted to trade the ball for another prize at the party because some of our European coworkers didn’t really care about football and was able to trade for iPod nanos. This was definitely one of the better company parties I have been to.
When we got home, my hubby called his parents since they are leaving the country tonight to do missionary work in the Philippines for an undetermined amount of time. We have all been working towards this moment in the last few months with the purchase of their home and moving various things. Everyone was quite emotional, but there is also joy in that my in-laws will begin a new life for God. It also made me feel very blessed to marry into such an awesome family full of love.
This morning we had a scheduled health exam for the life insurance I had applied for. A slightly deaf nurse came to our home and took our blood and urine samples and took various biometrics. I had written that a long time ago, but I never took the plunge. I finally did it because we purchased my in-law’s home, and in case something happens either of our policies could pay off all the debts. We bought a term policy and it is quite cheap because we’re both only 25 years old.
When I walked out the door I saw one of my neighbors at the mailboxes. She is a 70 year old Chinese widow that talked to me a few times before because I am the only other Chinese person that lives in the complex. We said hello to each other and she said, “Going to work?”
“You’re lucky you still have a job! A lot of people are laid off!” She exclaimed.
“I know. I know I am lucky.” I said as I walked out the door to live another day.
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Additionally, we also got dozens of disclosures, inspection reports, and the appraisal report. I think the hubby is getting tired of reading all of these forms that explain to us what we’re getting into. I find the disclosures very helpful, though. Even though we are buying the home from someone we trust, we still need to know all the problems and issues the property has. I actually found out a lot of things I didn’t know previously about the house. The hubby was reading the report and found a few surprises, too, but they were mostly minor.
The appraisal report showed six comparable properties and gave an appraised value range of $514k to $550k and I thought that was a fair estimate for the current market, but the appraiser did note in the report that the market could slip down further due to the tightening of credit and the amount of foreclosures in the area. In fact one of the comparables he used was a bank owned property and it sold for $520k. We’re technically purchasing it for quite a bit less than the lowest end of the appraisal so we will have some cushioning for the down market. The good thing about the appraisal is that our lender should accept that the house is worth a lot more than the loan amount we’re seeking and we will not have to get mortgage insurance.
Next, I did a lot of research into home insurance, and learned quite a bit about building materials and various natural disaster zones. For example, the home has a concrete tile roof, which is considered one of the most long lasting roofing materials and some insurance companies actually give a discount for that. The bad news is that the home is in a zone with high incidences of brush fire so a couple insurance companies actually refused to quote me. In the end I settled with a policy sold by Nationwide, which offered the best balance of coverage and price. I got more than ten quotes and the range of prices was from $440 to $1200 for varying amounts of coverage. Interestingly enough, the most expensive policy didn’t really cover more than some of the cheaper policies so I guess it really pays to shop around when you are purchasing any kind of insurance.
Amidst all of this stock market turmoil, I am actually glad that I have this real estate transaction to focus on right now. We are hoping to close in less than two weeks, and so far things have been going well. I haven’t met any unscrupulous loan or real estate agents that some people say caused the current crisis. The loan agent I dealt with was very straightforward and explained everything. There were also many disclosures that are required by law that tell you what you are responsible for and that the real estate market doesn’t always go up. So after going through this process I don’t think it’s fair to blame all the real estate professionals on the ground floor for the current meltdown. A lot of them are people like you and me making an honest living. Home buyers are really responsible for their own actions and everyone needs to do their due diligence before making any kind of big purchase or investment.
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