Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lured out of bed for a good cause

The sound of the phone ringing woke me in the middle of the night.

Well, it wasn't actually the middle of the night. It was a little after 8 a.m, and it was my friend Joe Smith telling me that he and our friend Ken Ross were coming over soon for "breakfast at Wimbledon."

I groaned. I had gone to bed at my customary time – around 12:30 a.m. – and so it really felt like the middle of the night. I've been setting my alarm for 10 a.m. just so that I don't continue to lie in bed until 11 or sometimes noon. But 8 a.m.? Ken had said the other day that they might come over, but since he never confirmed, I figured it wasn't happening.

I said to come on over. I put on my traditional outfit, starting with my running pants. Then I lay back in bed – always a bad choice – and of course fell quickly back asleep. I woke up to the sound of their cheerful voices at the door. So I ran down, still wearing the T-shirt I wore to bed, and looking as disheveled as a person with nearly no hair can. I let them in and ran back upstairs to put on a better T-shirt and splash water in my face.

Ken had brought strawberries, one of the ingredients for "breakfast at Wimbledon." (The other is cream, which we didn't have.) Joe brought coffee, and I supplied banana bread and zucchini bread. 

We watched the better of the two women's semifinals – Serena Williams defeating Elena Dementieva of Russia 6-7, 7-5, 8-6. As you can see from the scores, it was a close match, and it had a lot of great points. Serena will play her sister Venus in the women's final. It was a good morning.

I got my taste for coffee back, which makes me feel closer to my normal self. Joe's strong coffee really hit the spot. Still, I'm trying to not get re-hooked on caffeine, so I'm drinking decaf or half-decaf.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, I learned that I was among the latest group of people being laid off from the newspaper. There were about 12, including reporters, copy editors and photographers. It doesn't affect my income, because they weren't paying me any money, but of course it does affect my insurance. I will have to pay into COBRA for 18 months, and then I will be cut off and will have to find my own insurance. I think they are trying to deal unfairly with me, because the human resources director, who called me, said the company was cutting me off from insurance the next day.

I said that's impossible because I go to the clinic every week and I haven't even received the COBRA paperwork. They said OK, July 13. Later I learned that it's illegal to cut you off abruptly and that they need to give you 30 days. They gave everyone else 30 days, and me half that.

Unfortunately, they are treating me differently, and unfairly, in a range of other ways. These are things that I am working on. 

I wish people would read newspapers. It is so sad that such a wonderful industry seems to be dying. All I can say is we had a good run. As for me, I'll deal with the job thing later. It's not really at the top of my list right now.


Michele said...

I believe you can get cobra for more than 18 months if you are disabled...? I am being laid off at the end of July and freaked out about what i will do for insurance after cobra runs state does not offer a high risk insurance pool like some...and right now my medical records show I need chest CT's every 3 months for the next 24 months...I think my new motto will be "will work for insurance."

PJ said...

I was hoping you were watching that match yesterday. It was a thriller.

As for your health insurance, it might vary state to state but I believe you have a legal right to 30 days continued coverage at no cost to you. COBRA will cost you run 30% of the what your total insurance cost was (what your company paid + what you paid). Right now that's for 9 months but might be extended. Let's hope so.

And you're right, being bald minimizes morning dishevelment. No bed head.

donna said...

I like to think of myself as a green person, so I know reading news online is probably the right way to go. But I don't think I will ever quit getting the local daily delivered. There is something about a pristine, neatly folded paper in the morning with your cup of coffee. I'm sorry about you being downsized - it's happening to a lot of people I know. Hope to see you soon.

Anonymous said...

Ronni "they" suck! I don't know what happened over there. _ patty

Susan C said...

Oh, man, I'm really sorry to hear about the downsizing and especially bummed to hear about the way your former employer tried to handle the Cobra coverage.

Ann said...

Let me preface what I'm about to write by stating that yes, there are some great people in HR, but my experience has been that there are more individuals in need of a personality transplant running the show. I'm so sorry that you'll have to be dealing with this on top of everything. PJ's correct in what she wrote about COBRA and the lack of hair.

Nelle said...

I am so sorry to hear about the lay off. I used to work for an insurance co and a few years ago I knew the rules for NY. At that time when you had benefits the company had a predesignated time if you lost your job you were covered for. Ex: end of the month OR day job ended. They MUST apply that uniformly or that would be discrimination. Secondly, they need to send you Cobra papers. Should the papers not arrive in time, when they did arrive and you returned them you would have retroactive coverage to the date you lost your bens. Cobra is for 18 months and I believe a law was passed currently by the federal govt that your previous employer must pay 60% of it for something like nine months. WHEN Cobra ends, many insurance companies offer individual coverage. IF YOU NEVER have a period of time where your insurance has lapsed then you will be okay. You cannot allow any time to pass because if you do pre-existing conditions would apply. Call the insurance company covering you and ask to speak to someone in their Cobra for further information. I hope you filed and have been receiving state disability. Perhaps you will be eligible for unemployment. I hate that you have to deal with us on top of your recovery.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Ronni,

i cannot believe this! i am furious, but that is a useless emotion, -- all i know is that you will triumph over this challenge as well -- Tennis a great omen, serve 'em up! Runder-Woman,
Also, i hope there will always be newspapers -- green as i wld like to be -- as you know, both of my parents worked as reporters...

Anonymous said...

Dearest Runni,

Remember, you have tremendous "humane" resources and contacts in the health and legal systems, and in the media. So many people support you!
As you know, i have been advocating for patients for more than 30 years -- i know that you have a league of experts to turn to, to fight this -- if you need an extra hand, just sic me on them! arf!

Korby said...

I loved your Hot DoG blog! very well put!
The insurance thing is awful!

Anonymous said...

I just can't believe they laid you off. I don't know why I'm surprised any more by these things, but especially they health insurance. I'm sorry about the paper, but I'm glad you are doing better. Your posts continue to inspire me.
Nancy Gonter