Healthy, Wealthy, Wise? 1 out of 3 Ain’t That Bad

Tom Amsel. pg 2jpgA Boomer’s Journal

By Tom Anselm

This old noggin has been thinking a lot about numbers these days.

Which is funny, as I have never been the guy who does the bills in this partnership.  I am the guy who got a 35% in senior physics class and passed anyway out of the goodness of the instructors heart who knew that I honestly had no clue.  But I tried hard, you know?

Anyway, last time I wrote I was railing about taxes, which we just sent off to good old Uncle Sammy, and this week, the thoughts turn to insurance.  Health insurance, to be exact.

The idea of insuring for health runs way back to Civil War times, when one could buy a policy for steamboat and rail travel as a protection against injury.   In 1911, Great Britian passed their National Insurance Act, and many European nations followed suit shortly thereafter, with the government helping to foot the bill.

It caught on in the States in the early 1930s with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations.  Employers started offering benefit plans in the 1940s and ‘’50s which coincided nicely with the rise of unions.  It was a great way to attract workers, keep them employed and promote  their family’s health.  This was back in the days when people worked most of their lives with one company, unions were strong and pensions and health plans were commonplace.

It was the status quo for several decades until companies started disengaging from the Land of the Free, taking their production to other countries with the lure of cheap labor trumping a “Made in America” label.

Which kind of brings us to today.

People in our time are probably healthier in their lifestyles than at any other time in our history.  Witness all the fitness clubs, diet corporations, PX90-type infomercials and the vast proliferation of walkers and marathoners and bike riders we see every morning. Still, fit as we may be, there is still the need  for some form of health insurance.

It is rare that someone does not have something as a ‘fall-back’ safeguard, but many lower-income citizens did not have this cushion.  This concern was part of the impetus for The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Whether this idea works out for the better of America or not remains to be seen.  But be assured that, as Bobby Dylan sang, “the times, they are a-changing.”

This rather long-winded introduction comes to you because our family is at a health insurance crossroads of sorts. Since I retired from teaching in 2010, I have been on the lovely Jill’s health plan through her employer.  This past January, I joined the ranks of  the elderly, and soon became  “Medicare Man.”  So I am off the wife’s dime.  These days, however, we are looking at even more changes.

We may need to seek private coverage. The Joanster is graduating in May and will no doubt be employed in a teaching job.  But what to do until she starts in August?  Should she jump on the ACA train?  Does employment changes render these questions moot?  Will Shelby Miller ever win a game for the Cardinals? (As of this writing, he is 0-2… yoiks!)

These and other conundra (is that a word?)  face our little family, and I bet many others like ours, as we head into a new inning of our life-game.

However it may go, in a world of uncertainty and escalating medical costs, we must secure a health plan.

Keep you posted.


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