Being a Dad…the best role I've ever had.

The Not-So Affordable Care Act

Raising one child is difficult and expensive. Raising three? Well, it’s not quite as hard as one may thing, but it is more difficult than raising one or two. The cost, however, is far greater.  Now, I don’t want to sound cheap or like I am complaining, but I am constantly amazed at how much it costs for certain things, like health care.

Just three years ago, I was employed at a major utility and had really good health insurance. I remember complaining that my premium was going up…a whole hundred dollars. A MONTH.  It was going to cost me about four hundred dollars a month for complete medical coverage for ALL of my family, including my lovely wife.  Granted, that coverage was probably more than most needed, but I have two children (well, one is 18 now) that have weak immune systems and sick quite a bit.

Well, fast forward three years.

I no longer work for that company as they ‘eliminated the position’ that I held.  My insurance lasted about three months after my official end of service date. Then, the worst happened. The Affordable Care Act was in effect and I had to use the Healthcare.gov web site and buy insurance. 

Let me tell you, that was not a pleasant experience.  Not at all. There is nothing good about that site and I think they forgot what ‘affordable’ means.  The cheapest insurance, for the family, was about what I paid at the former place of employment. The difference? It had a high out of pocket and deductible.  The deductible was something like five thousand dollars and the out of pocket was really high.  And, it was lacking in coverage PLUS…new doctors since, contrary to what we were told, our then current doctors did not participate.I ended paying nearly seven hundred dollars, with a two thousand dollar deductible.  Now, when you are stretched thin already, how is this affordable?

Today, I have a new job but am currently considered a temp worker (my full time job starts in a few months) so I am not entitled to the temp agency benefits. I have some, but…well, they aren’t great.  For example, the ‘medical’ insurance is the bare minimum they can get under the ACA. It ONLY covers preventive care, not sick visits. AND…my wife is not eligible.  She must go through Healthcare.gov.  So, not only will she pay a lot more, there is still that high deductible.  Unfortunately, we have to go this way as it is the law. Albeit a broken law that just does not work.

Our lawmakers lied to us.  This Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable.

A Night Out With the Kids

Recently, we had a sleep over for my step son. It was just a neighbor kid and my stepson, but your would have thought we had a whole boy scout troop as it was bloody expensive.  A movie and then dinner at a Stevie B’s (like Cici’s Pizza) was just nuts, cost wise. Now, mind you, I have not been to a movie for a while and just forgot about how much they charge for things.  The movie was just over thirty dollars. I actually don’t mind the high cost of the tickets as the theater experience is still worth paying for, but just wait till I get my home theater. The concessions, though…OH MY.  Popcorn, one very large soda, two boxes of candy and two slurpee like frozen drinks was 33 dollars. Dinner, which also included my oldest son, was also around the 35 dollar mark-which isn’t all that bad, for five people.  So, this little outing, for two kids, my wife and myself was nearly a hundred bucks.  Seriously.  How in the world are parents on an even tighter budget supposed to do something like this? It’s no wonder Netflix and RedBox are so bloody popular. I have to wonder how others, who may not be as fortunate, do this. I can’t imagine how a parent who is making thirty grand a year and has two or more children does it. This has gotten me to think about alternative ways to entertain, have fun and enjoy the kids having a great time. Look for more later, but I will start with dinner, below. Read on.

The only reasonable thing we did was dinner at Stevie B’s.  In fact, it is even cheaper if you buy the regular size pies and take them home: $4.95 each and they actually taste fairly decent, for cheap pizza. Get a couple of them, a two liter of soda and rend a movie for under $20 bucks. Not bad.

Of course, it was all made worth it when the the neighbor kid looks at us, cute glasses and wide grin, and says ‘this is the BEST night ever!’ Well, that hundred dollars suddenly seemed inconsequential.  It got even better when my step son concurred, with an equally big grin. Yep, that’s what it is about and that makes it easier to swallow an otherwise very bitter pill.

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