I recently changed jobs, and although I’ve dealt with gaps in medical coverage before, I didn’t anticipate everything this time. Let’s talk about what to do for health insurance between jobs. And let’s talk coverage too–they aren’t always the same thing.
First things first: gaps are likely, and the laws are written under the assumption that small gaps will happen. The system still isn’t what I would call fair, not that it ever has been, but generally it’s possible to navigate the system and get the coverage you need. I’m not here to complain about the system; I’m here to tell you what I did, or could have done, to navigate it.
Dr. Langer stated that work-life balance is inherently unhealthy, because the idea creates a notion that you have to be one person at home and a completely different person at work. She didn’t put it this bluntly, but essentially it means living a lie at least part of the time. She did say nobody should want to live life like that.
This month’s Social Engineer podcast featured psychology professor Dr. Ellen Langer, whose specialty is mindfulness. Dr. Langer brought up a lot of important things, including the idea of work-life integration rather than the more difficult work-life balance, but another thing she briefly touched on really resonated with me. She brought up a study, originally done in the late 1970s, where a group of 80-somethings were immersed in 1959 for a week. At the end of the week, they didn’t act like 80-somethings anymore. It seems nostalgia can make you younger.
That got me thinking about the power of nostalgia.
As security professionals, we deal with a tremendous amount of stress. Like my new boss told me about a week into our tenure together, we tend to be perfectionists, and frequently we’re asked to deal with the most cavalier people in our organization. It’s a toxic combination.
One of the first things my boss asked me after we met was what I think about at home. In all honesty, I can’t help but think about work sometimes–I apologize for being crude, but I have a thinking chair at home and it doesn’t look like the one on Blue’s Clues–but I have a lot of other things I think about at home too. Important things like my family of course, but other important things too, like trains and baseball and baseball cards.
My wife is a type 1 diabetic, and for the past year or so she’s been using an Omnipod to deliver the insulin she needs. She likes the Omnipod a lot better than the old-fashioned Medtronic insulin pumps she used to use, but one problem with the pods is that they can come off before their useful life is over. The pods cost around $20 and our insurance doesn’t cover any extras, so it’s important to be able to revive or restore the Omnipod adhesive if a pod comes unstuck.
The pods are supposed to last three days, but sometimes the adhesive only lasts a day or so. Humidity, sweating from activity, swimming and bathing can all make the adhesive fail prematurely. It seems the pods themselves are a lot more waterproof than the adhesive is. Then again, she says sometimes just the force of changing clothes can be enough to knock a pod off.
My wife is a Type 1 diabetic. She’s the type of person insurance companies go out of their way to deny coverage for, and while I suppose I can say I’m used to them not covering her without a fight, I’m not exactly good at fighting the system. What I’ve learned the hard way is that you need to make sure, every time you change health insurance, that you have at least 12 months’ worth of certificates of creditable coverage. And don’t expect them to tell you this.
You see, the more you don’t know, the more they can deny coverage and rake in profits. Health insurance isn’t about health, you see. It’s all about profits. Read more
I’m writing this to hopefully save someone from having as bad of a day as I’ve just had. You see, I started a new job on July 3. My new health insurance starts August 1. My former employer terminated my coverage on July 2. COBRA is intended to fill gaps like that, but all I have is a promise that my COBRA paperwork will show up someday. My former employer didn’t send the COBRA paperwork, just a promise that it was coming. Famous last words, you know.
That promise doesn’t help when my wife needs insulin today. And when my current employer doesn’t know what to do, my old employer won’t answer the phone, and my old insurance company doesn’t know what to do either, that’s enough to ruin your day.
What I didn’t know was that COBRA doesn’t work that way.
Yesterday morning, as I completed the long journey from my parking spot to my office, another more likely use of the security vulnerability in Medtronic insulin pumps occurred to me. Yes, the risks involving insulin are very real. And yes, a determined attacker could use this vulnerability to take a Medtronic owner’s life. But those chances are slim.
But nothing says this vulnerability has to be used to do mortal harm. An attacker could use it just for exploitation. And there’s enough difference that some people wouldn’t have a problem with crossing that line. Read more
Insulin pumps marketed by Minneapolis-based Medtronic have a serious, life-threatening security flaw, and the company couldn’t care less.
For these two reasons, this isn’t your typical security flaw, and Medtronic’s response–in 30 years, we’ve ever seen a problem that we know of–is beyond deplorable. Ford’s infamous decision to pay lawsuits rather than fix a deadly flaw in the Pinto comes to mind. Read more