Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Afterglow and More

Opening the COP 24/7 Big Box

Even though the big day is "o-v-a," its not actually over as the holiday afterglow continues with more discounted the after X-mas shopping opportunities, possible pesky returns, and unfortunately folks shopped til they dropped online to the point that both United Parcel Service and FEDEX service
personnel probably had a collective WTF!  All I can say is "holy package drop!," as these delivery drivers go in overdrive trying to get all those late parcels to their destination.

In full disclosure, I actually had a chance many years ago to do some package traffic temporary work for UPS. At that time, it was not even the holiday rush, but I was aghast at the amount of packages that were actually manually "off loaded" by a legion of men and women whom were required to just get it done as fast they humanly could. You have to see it to really believe it.

Even though I was afforded the chance to walk the dizzying array of conveyor belts in my work to randomly survey package point to point destination. I realized that working in that massive distribution center was not for the faint of heart or somebody who did not have a good back bone. Trust me, all of these package handlers work hard for the money and my experience was "pre-Internet," shopping.

Jut so you know, UPS has garnered a past 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which UPS boasts on its own website. However, HRC adjusted its criteria this past year and UPS now has a 90 percent rating because it does not offer transition-related care for transgender employees. This recent "oops" also comes on the aftermath that the freight giant had given $167,000 in foundation funding to the Boys Scout of America despite UPS's commitment to LGBTQ inclusive workplace policies.

Therefore what I saw is now probably dwarfed by the now legendary amount of stuff being sent to US households. So as I watched news media coverage of their systems overload dilemma, I can't even imagine  how many more delivery trucks were rolled up to the unload bay being serviced by a waiting off loader. Even if you didn't get your package, can I suggest that you take a moment to reflect on the real "reason for the season," while perhaps appreciating the fact that a fellow American was busting his or her butt in trying to get it to you.

Clinton foundation spends $226 million on programs in ’12

Former President Bill Clinton’s foundation spent $226 million in 2012 on programs with such aims as providing medicine to AIDS patients in Africa and curbing childhood obesity in the U.S., according to financial information released by the organization.

The foundation released tax documents for 2012 to The Associated Press that show the organization finished the most recent year with a $7 million surplus across its various entities.

Comparatively little of the organization’s money goes toward drawing in more cash. The foundation devoted $7.8 million to fundraising, or 3.5 percent of its budget. Nearly 90 percent of foundation money went into its programs, while 6.5 percent went toward management and general expenses.
The documents and annual reports show the foundation’s Clinton Health Access Initiative commanded the most money in 2012, spending $136.4 million.

The initiative works with governments to make affordable drugs and diagnostics available for treatment of HIV and AIDS and to generally improve health-care infrastructure. The program also provides vaccines and treatments of diseases including malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea, which the foundation says kill 700,000 children annually.

Getting In the Insurance Rush

Well alright, COP 24/7 reported that 12/23/13 was the deadline for getting a profile set up on the Affordable Care Act website,  Then we got a notice of a "not so fast" with an extension that slid onto Tuesday, 12/24/13 due some more technical shigity that has plagued the
website since its initial October 1 launch.

Now we learn a "hold on, wait a minute," reprieve posted to the website stating that if you could not get set up due more shigity from the site, then you perhaps still could get in underwire by...are you ready...January 1, 2014! So I guess that of that 2 Million hits on Monday there's going to be some busy processing folk!

With that said, it now appears and who knows what update we will get as we update this site, as to any further changes. What we think we know is the fact that your payment has to be in by January 10, 2014 with some begrudging retro coverage that is suppose to start on New Years Day. I'm sure that insurance companies are chopping at the bit on all these moving parts. Especially after learning from a source at Blue Cross-Blue Shield that a truck load of applicant information showed up at the company after several missed deadlines. Not to mention, the phones were ringing off the wall with future or returning customers trying to pay premiums by Tuesday.

Through it all, what really astounded COP 24/7 was the fact that BC/BS did not set up a system to take any debit or credit card payments over the phone? I thought to myself, in this plastic crazed world, who didn't think that perhaps we need to have a system that would allow this option. Although the company would take "e-checks," customers were instructed to use options of Western Union, snail mail or pay in person.
In the meantime, if you missed any of this or whatever deadline, don't forget that open enrollment continues to March 31, 2014. Also please don't misunderstand that the penalty is at the low end $95 but up to 1 percent of your family income depending on which is greater. If you just can't do it, you can ask for a "hardship" wavier, but full realize that you will have to come with it as proof." Need more information or navigation points, call 349-7777 for assistance!!

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