A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘consumer rip offs’ Category

Insurance Assurance

When you get to a certain age, you have to think insurance in a whole new light. Insurance can mean your health insurance, it can mean life insurance but mostly it means being assured that the next part of your life being what it should. My biggest fear is to die before I can reap the bounty of my years of work.

I started when I was 11 years old working summers, every weekend and even some school nights taking care of other people’s children. I was in high demand and was told by my parents that I will work. By the time I was 15, I worked in a department store on a work permit. I was still in school but weekends and summers were not mine. Then like people of my generation, you worked, went to college or went into the military. I went to college and worked. I continued that pattern for most of my adult life.

Now I am reaching a time that I will not have to work. I planned, scrimped and saved, and bought insurance in the form of an annuity and pensions. It feels like climbing a mountain and getting to the top and saying “Now what?”

If you do not know, the slope is very slippery. When you turn 65, you have to apply for Medicare. You don’t have to take it if you have some other form of insurance, but you paid for it all your working years. Why not take it?  My biggest advice is to find an insurance broker and work with them. It is the most confusing mess I have ever seen. One part D covers this but not that. You need a supplemental if you have these kinds of problems. And eye care and dental coverage varies greatly. Working with an independent broker is great because they will take all your information and calculate what is best for you for free. Then once you decide based on their information, they will sign you up. Our broker will call us  to come in and redo this so annually we will have the best coverage for the price. For my husband, she eliminated a premium and lowered co pays but found better drug coverage.

My next step is to find an honest financial planner. This has been a quest for me for four years. It is not like we have a ton of money, but what I have I want safe. I had originally invested some money in the stock market. We found this person who at first seemed great. He charged a flat fee and was going to help us plan our retirement. He took the money, invested it and it lost a ton. I was devastated. He offered no help, did not come true to our planning process and we basically were screwed. I waited it out until the money we lost came back and we were at our original amount and pulled it out. Of course now, the market is through the roof. But I could not take the fear of losing everything.

Financial planning is important because too much money and you are screwed, not enough and it’s even worse. Our biggest issues is we both have high drug costs. Currently we cannot subscribe to any of the help out there because we make too much. If we were only $1.00 over, we would still be out of luck. Epic is a drug plan for people with high drugs costs but only for New York State. So we have to wait until I have a lower income to be able to get that help. We have to plan what pensions and other income we take in so we can get this support. Seems counter intuitive but that’s the game.

Here is another guessing game: when to retire. It is all a gamble. Say you wait until you are 66 to retire to get your full benefit. But you die when you are 76. So you only collect your Social Security for ten years and all of those dollars go back to the state. But if you look at the fact that if you take the lesser monthly benefit at an early age, you will get it for a longer period of time and it evens out. Losing $200.00 a month may seem drastic right now, and that is what they want you to think. But if you wait and die sooner, you lose that money.

Here is something else people do not realize. This is real life experience. My mother-in-law was placed in a nursing home. She was private pay. You would think she would have had the best of everything. That was not at all true. She was side by side with all the people who were on Medicaid. They got exactly the same care or lack of care that she got. Difference was that the State was paying their way and we were paying for my MIL. All that money they saved went to the nursing home. This really pisses me off because my step daughter also plays this game. She works just enough and no more so she can stay on Medicaid. She has better health coverage than we do. What a scam. But that is a whole other topic.

When we saw an Estate planner, he told us that nursing homes were the biggest rip off. He told us that all funds at a certain point in your life should be protected by trusts and other forms of protection. He said that money can be put aside and protected if you wanted to pass it on and not give it to a nursing home. An Estate planner is essential to protect any assets you may have from being taken by the government. It is also necessary so that what you want in your death is carried on. It gives great peace of mind to have that all in place.

I know that in a year and a half I will stop working full time. There is no doubt about it. I will probably find a part time at home job just to keep busy. It will be a test of time to see if we planned well enough to enjoy what years we have without all the bull and still have a comfortable life. I know too many people who thought they could make it on what they had and had a rude awakening. Trying to find a job at 65 is not easy at all. I hope this information is helpful.

Out of alignement

mattress

I am not sure if it is just the residual energy left over from the fall sleazy presidential campaign bull crap, but the New Year seems to be slimed. I do not know how else to explain the consistent nastiness and negative energy I feel everywhere. Even in my own home, things are off kilter. My computer is acting very strange and slow, our toilet is difficult to flush, our phone lines were filled with buzzing and the big bad thing is our bed. When you do not sleep, nothing goes well.

I think I have spent the last two weeks in the world of the worst con-artists and researching the worse scam propagated on the human raise. Mattress buying… it is worse than any experience I have had in purchasing a major household item.

I have not slept well in months. Even prior to that, for over two years, there would be mornings that both of us thought we had been run over. We would turn the mattress and it would be better. We figured the mattress we had was at least 6 years old and maybe it was time to do something about it.

Off we went to City Mattress. If this was a movie, the set would dim, music would get ominous, smoke would be billowing on the floor and the salesmen would all have red eyes. We had them look up when we bought the current mattress we have and it turns out to be only three years old. I was completely shocked. How could a $2500.00 mattress turn to a lumpy-dumpy sagging pile of fiber in that short amount of time?

The salesman said that there was an issue with the mattress and many were failing. They would come out and look at it, and give us a rebate towards a new mattress. “OK”, I thought. It would have to have indents of at least two inches. “No problem, they are deeper than that.”

When I got home, I started doing research only to find that a sagging broken mattress is so very common that there are devoted websites to the issue. I read through them. I look for solutions. I compare mattress types and pricing. I looked up store ratings. There is a whole world out there devoted to this plague of consumer rip off.

The situation of being  flim-flamed and  ripped off from creepy salesmen who feed bullshit about products they know nothing about has turned the consumers to buying mattress on line. People trust Amazon more than any other company to ship the right bed and honor their return agreements. There were stories of people buying one mattress at MetroMattress and getting a different inferior product delivered. And then they would not take it back. One person got the right model, but it was a used mattress. Ewww.

They rely on people thinking that the warrantee they offer is rock solid and protects the buyer. Hell no, it protects the company. They are very clear about the level of indentations required. You cannot have any stains on the mattress and the warranty is void if the bed “is not set up correctly.” And who sets up the bed???

So, our warranty was useless. He did not even measure. Our little brown dog has marked the bed several times and it went through the mattress pad and stained the mattress. And he said the bed was not set up correctly as it did not have a middle leg brace. They set it up for us…..AND when I was inspecting the bed, we do not have the foundation box springs that were supposed to be with that bed. They switched out the boxsprings and I never noticed until now.

There are a lot of products out there to fix sagging mattress and they too are a rip off. The best fix is $70.00 each and they do not last very long either, according to the reviews. People had all sorts of hacks. One was pillows. Others placed foam. I thought the foam was a great idea and so off we went to purchase some. I did research on the density and size needed. Turns out it would cost me $130.00 to buy the right foam to fix the issue.

Frustrated, sore and tired, I told my hubby lets go to one more store and look at mattresses. This store, Sleep City, had great reviews, but a very limited stock. Short story: we bought a new mattress. He threw in a new frame and a waterproof mattress cover. Set up and delivery was free and the price was fair. I did not buy the top of the line mattress but one that the research said was fair. Even so, the price was close to 2K. It is coming next weekend.

Back home, we had torn the existing bed apart in the hopes of getting foam and fixing the issue cheaply. I decided to put pillows under the mattress where the bed sagged. This was a common fix. It did fill in the holes and the indent was gone. But who knew I was such a princess and the pea kind of sleeper. Yes, the sag was totally gone, but now the bed was uncomfortable in a different way. I woke up this morning at 3am with my back and hips flaring like someone had put hot coals there.

If you have not bought a mattress in a while, be prepared. The cost is ridiculous. There are many factors in making your purchase such as materials, durability, what type of sleeper you are and how big you are. The ideal mattress for us would have been a latex foam which ran about 5-6K and we would have had to have it shipped and it would be extremely heavy. We would have had to drag our old mattress out and bring the new one upstairs ourselves. No can do. As it is, just moving the existing one hurt both of us yesterday.

The days of having one mattress for life are over. This crappy mattress is only the third one in my adult life. The last mattress was over 20 years old and we only replaced it with the shitty one we have because it came from my first marriage. My parents had the same mattress for over thirty years.

Until consumers are well armed and stand up to the lies and poor quality, this is an area of scamming that will continue. You have to sleep. It is just one more corner of the world where people blindly walk in unassuming and believing they are going to be treated fairly. Buyer beware.

PS: Last week I posted something from the Ace blog site. I am formulating a blog with my own experience and message as a Trauma Informed Specialist.