A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Health Insurance for Dummies, Old-School Style

This year our insurance plan was "tweaked." At our last faculty meeting we bad lazy no-goodniks were chastised by the District Numbers Dude (henceforth known as DND) for the incredibly high coinage our insurance company has had to pay out in ratio to premiums paid. It is obvious that our refusal to drag our lazy butts in to school is the reason for this slacking when we should certainly just choose to do otherwise.

Apparently the gambit of offering people a hundred bucks for perfect attendance isn't working so well. (Show of hands-- how many of you out there have gotten to the point that you would PAY a hundred bucks to have a day off?)

So yes, we have to be "incentivized" ("I do not think that word means what you think it means....") by having a "doughnut hole" built into our coverage. This means that after a certain point, call it "x", we have to pay 100% of our medical expenditures, basically, until the insurance kicks in again at another certain point, call it "y." And of course, DND and friends don't call it a "doughnut hole" because that would mean that people would actually understand what this little tactic actually is.

Now let me just point out that it has never occurred to DND or any of the other Powers That Be that there are a few simple steps that could help alleviate ever-escalating health care pay-outs, and I bet it would be far cheaper than ever-increasing premiums, substitute pay, days of work lost, and cheap tricks. I mean, really, who wants to spend three hours writing lesson plans when they are sick so they can stay home and be miserable-- besides knowing all the work that is piling up while they're home sick?

Here they are, and these could be done on rotation:
1) Clean the ductwork in the buildings at least every other year. Our ceiling tiles are coated in a black gunk near the air vents which is disgusting. I know one building in our district in which several people have had to have polyps removed from their sinuses. See point number 4 below.

2) Patch the holes in the roof of every building.

3) Replace the ceiling tiles. They are over thirty years old and are coated with mold, mildew, and black gunk.

4) Realize that since we have an industrial site next door to our school, we cannot open the windows, which would help freshen the air. Most of our illnesses are respiratory in nature.

5) Hire a contractor who will provide healthy, fresh, recognizable food in the cafeterias.

6) Create a wellness program which actually interests people-- volleyball leagues, kickball leagues, 5K run/walks.

7) Redo the molding along the floors, which currently has gaps and loose edges granting entree to all kinds of critters.

Look, I know there are other school districts in far worse shape than we are, but that is still no excuse, given the waste and inefficiency that permeates budget decisions throughout the process.

And I'll tell you something: the first time one of my skinflint colleagues drags his sorry behind in to work while he is sick with H1N1 just so he won't lose that hundred bucks, I'm coming over to THEIR house so they can nurse me back to health.



At 9/5/09, 9:00 PM, Blogger Kristie Walker said...

What does your union think about all of this? I'm the first one to say that I don't always agree with our union or The Union in general, but isn't this type of situation what they're there for? I know all of our insurance options are negotiated as part of our contract.

At 9/6/09, 1:50 PM, Blogger Lsquared said...

Uh, yeah. There's a reason why teachers get sick more than the guys at the district office, and I don't think it's because they'd rather be home sick. On a similar note, my school district sent home two notes to all of the parents on the first day of school. The first said: if your child is even close to sick with something that might be H1N1, keep them home until you're sure it's not. The other one said: we're not willing to believe you parents, though, if you think your child is sick--this year you need a doctor's note. I'm thinking that the first note might not get the desired response.

Happy flu season everyone...

At 9/7/09, 2:31 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

In light of such poor, unhealthy, unsafe working conditions, why isn't your state teachers union suing your school district and the state ? Our here in the Great Democrat People's Republica de California, it took the ACLU to sue the San Francisco Unified School District and the State of California on behalf of students in public schools to have: an assigned textbook for each student and toilet paper, soap and towels/hand drying apparatus in the bathrooms.

I have a letter on file with my district from my allergy Dr. stating that I am not to teach in any of the portable classrooms our district has, due to these classrooms being inhabited with molds, mildews, and other assorted stuff I am allergic to.

Get the State teachers union on em! Sic the ACLU on em. You deserve a clean, healthy work environment !

That being said, hope the other aspects of your school year are going ok....Take care!

At 9/7/09, 8:44 PM, Blogger Lightly Seasoned said...

Ah, we have the same deal: big deductible, board pays first half, we're responsible for the rest until it hits a certain point. Isn't that charming.

We have aristocratic roaches running around, but the mold and mildew is WAY better since we got a new HVAC last year. The custodians no longer bring in a bucket when the heat comes on for the sludge that leaked from my ceiling.

We've been told automatic 48 hours out if we have a 100 degree fever. Our sick leave is funky, though -- we don't get sick days. We're expected to stay home if we're ill and come to work if we're not. Apparently, our staff attendence is 95%+ with this policy.

At 9/7/09, 10:46 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Polski, because we barely have collective bargaining, much less the spine to sue.

LS, that policy of no sick league intrigues me.

At 9/10/09, 4:36 PM, Blogger Lightly Seasoned said...

It works, apparently. We didn't even run out of sub money last year :) (during which you call out at your own peril since a department colleague covers during her plan).

I've already had 4 or 5 kids out with "fluish" symptoms.


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