Health Insurance – the Biggest Scam We’re All Buying Into

My last employer offered health insurance. What a scam!!!! It cost 20% of my take home pay. Who can afford that? Not to mention that my deductible was $4k. So I had to pay 20% of my net pay for insurance I could never use. What a capital idea! Insurance companies are one of the highest grossing industries.

Let’s look at Blue Cross Blue Shield NC for an example. In 2014 they reported: “Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on Friday reported $92.6 million in net income in 2013, a 60 percent jump from the previous year. (Read more at http://www.wral.com/blue-cross-profits-executive-pay-up-in-2013/13438661/#JIrxqHXbFLCFPAdu.99).” And, the compensation for Blue Cross’ top 10 executives rose by almost 11% in 2013. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s CEO earned a $2 million bonus last year on top of his $897,427 salary. His total compensation was up 19% over 2012. Must be nice. I wondered what the average salary is for citizens of North Carolina in 2013 and found it is $40,710. This means that if the average Blue Cross Blue Shield executive makes around $2M/year including bonuses, that the average person makes about 2% of what these fat cats take in a year.

Is it the same story in all 50 states? I have no idea, I used the data from North Carolina because it was easily available. If it is true across the country, based on these averages, Blue Cross/Blue Shield executives are getting about $500M per year. How do you feel about that? How does it feel to pay 20% or more of your take home pay to pay for their salaries and undeserved bonuses?

I have been aware of these overpaid bloated pigs since 2002 when Forbes listed the highest paid executives in the US. As you may have surmised, many were CEOs or executives of health insurance companies. So the next time these greedy companies tell YOU that your premium is going up because health costs have risen, push back. If we all just roll over and give in, this problem is going to become astronomical expenses for the average American. We need to wake up! I am tired of wealthy, overpaid executives stealing my measly pay!

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Recruiters – Stop Wasting Our Time and Post Salary Ranges

One of my biggest pet peeves in the job search are ridiculous job postings. To me, most are a waste of time and I see too many that have been out there for months. This indicates that companies don’t plan on ever filling these positions. Why post the jobs if you have no intention of filling it? Stop wasting our time!

My second biggest pet peeve is that recruiters don’t post salary ranges. Again, a waste of time and resources for both the job seeker and the recruiter. When we look at job postings we assume the pay is commensurate with the responsibilities. However, in this chaotic, disorganized job market, that is not the case.

The other day a well-meaning friend sent me a job positing. It was for a coordinator position, nothing major. But when I looked at the actual posting I had to start laughing! They wanted someone at an ‘entry level’ (their wording, not mine) to design and implement a quality assurance system for a spin off of a major pharmaceutical company. It was actually the responsibilities of a vice president or director, at the very least, a manager. They ‘preferred’ a master’s degree for this job that apparently pays in the mid to high 30s. Seriously? Are they smoking crack over there instead of using their brains? What person with the experience and advanced degrees is going to work for that? If they find someone, I’m sure the candidate is pretty inept.

Why did I even bother to call to find out what it paid? I was curious as to how delusional this company is. Who’d want to even work at a place who puts so much pressure on the bottom feeders qualifying for state medicaid when the executives got multi-million dollar bonuses last year? Not anyone. Put the crack pipe down recruiters!

Posting the salary ranges for job seekers will save wasted effort for everyone. You’re not fooling anyone by posting a director position description for an entry level job. If you’re cheapskates, then own up to it. It’s not like job seekers aren’t going to ask as soon as possible. We are also wise to the old “the salary will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience.” That’s just double-talk for trying to get the cheapest body in the job. Good luck with that. No wonder corporate America has turned into a revolving door for employees.

I sign off as disgusted and I know for sure that the American Dream is long dead.

I like to work!

waiting for living wageI started earning my own money when I was 8 years old babysitting children for my neighbors. Yes, back then girls started babysitting when they were about 8 or 9 years old—you definitely wouldn’t see that today!! I had regular clients, babysat after school and weekends. My dad was a bank vice president so it wasn’t that I needed to work, just that I liked to be responsible.

I got my first actual job when I was 13 years old and in 8th grade. It was for $2/hour at a local pizza place. I answered the phone, took delivery orders, waited tables and whatever else was needed. I kept that job for a year. By this time, my father had been through alcoholism; we lost our home and moved to a sketchy neighborhood in an apartment. This was a lot for a young girl but kids are very resilient and learn to adapt. I needed to buy my own clothing as we were depending on my mother’s close to minimum wage job as a secretary. I really needed that job because in 7th grade, my mother was only able to buy me one pair of jeans so I started filching my older brother’s Levis. I dressed like a boy, not because I wanted to, but my pre-adolescent clothes no longer fit and my mother was overloaded with just trying to support us all. I was what was called a latchkey kid starting at age 10—I came home to an empty house after school and was trusted to watch after myself. Something else that would be considered neglect back then. I call it survival—there was no other choice. Life is not ideal—what sounds good in theory often fails miserably in reality.

Once I was in high school (I started when I was 13), I went through the usual succession of jobs high school aged kids had back then at fast food places and retail. By the end of my junior year (when I was actually of legal age to hold a job) I was a dental assistant, secretary at the local high school district office and then went on to become a teacher’s aide for 4th graders in my senior year. Not bad for a kid who wasn’t old enough to vote. You wouldn’t see that now though—kids are competing with middle aged adults for the mindless low-skilled fast food/retail minimum wage jobs.

My parents were unable to help with college expenses so I was sent to a secretarial school instead. That’s what women were guided to do back then. How ridiculous! We were encouraged to become secretaries, nurses and teachers—this is until we got married—then we were apparently supposed to be happy little housewives for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately wages were flat for too long and wives needed to go back into the workforce. Kids were on their own at very early ages.

The average wage in the U.S has remained relatively flat since the 1970s.

The average wage in the U.S has remained relatively flat since the 1970s.

After secretarial school was my first real full time job as a Medical Records Technician at a Big 10 school in the Midwest. This is another position they want a degree or certification for. I went in not knowing anything and was a master within 6 months. I still remember many ICD-9 codes such as 382.9 for otitis media (ear infection). Yep, did it and did it well, including automating the system from manual to computer, something that was difficult in those years when servers with memory less than today’s cheap laptop and took up an entire room. After that, I was paralegal and researched information for court cases where I learned a lot about law and developed my written communication skills.

Within 5 years after finishing secretarial school, I got a job at a major pharmaceutical company in their quality assurance department. I stayed at this company for 15 years. I worked my way up. In the beginning when someone left, they didn’t backfill but added their responsibilities to mine. After 10 years I had worked in almost every aspect of quality assurance and was a project manager for global technical operations. In fact, for 2 years I did a director’s job. I may not have a degree, but I do have a brain and am able to learn on the job. From there I moved on to human resources where I recruited from top MBA schools and then on to communications where I worked with the top executives of the company. I loved my jobs there! I had direct reports who I groomed and developed so that they are very successful today. I managed by motivating my employees—so different from today’s paranoid management structure.

In 2001, the company I worked for was swallowed up by a bigger pharmaceutical giant. We had to make the choice whether to relocate to the NYC headquarters or take a separation package. It was just after 9-11 and the resulting economic problems were just beginning. Because the job market became somewhat unstable at that time, my husband had a great job where we lived and the cost of living in NYC was so high, we decided it would be best if I took the package. We planned that I would take a step back from my career so I could be with my children (which I really wanted) and we would save $600/month for daycare. I started my own business designing websites, graphic design, management development, and later social media. I also was occasionally called back to the pharmaceutical company as they transitioned all departments to the Midwest.

Around the time of the 2008 economic crash, I was burned out. Working for yourself means you’re on call 24/7 and when you’re both CEO and the admin, the day is never done. I was overworked and thought longingly of my corporate jobs where I could leave most of it at the end of the day.

Well that’s my introduction. My subsequent blogs will include my rude awakening to corporate America in the 21st century and the frustration of finding a job that pays a living wage.