Thursday, November 10, 2016

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Another busy day yesterday.  The roofing/siding guys are finished except for a piece of fascia and a little trim; they have to bend these things up and then install them, hopefully before Friday.  We heard from our builder that our painters should be here next Tuesday to do several things: the exterior of the mud room, the interiors of both the mud room and the sun room, and the framing that will underlie our new deck.  They might also be able to paint the repaired drywall in our laundry room – repairs on that started yesterday and will allegedly be done by Friday.  The builders were still waiting on lumber, which was supposed to show up yesterday but did not.  Our fence guys showed up and cut another 10 or so panels, including some of the more challenging ones where the fence is on a slope.  That fence is going to look great when they're finished!

In between dealing with all the contractors I spent the day working on the final electrical work in the sun room.  In addition to the outlets, I got the lighting switch installed, one of the three lights almost finished.  That leaves me with two lights to go, and then I can move on into the mud room.  The siding is now finished around all my lighting plaques, so I can do the final wiring on the entire thing.

Our flooring contractor called yesterday to let us know that our tile would be arriving one day late – so they moved their installation schedule from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday (tomorrow and the next day).  The mud room and sun room will look much different after that!

I forgot to mention yesterday that on Tuesday night we took Cabo to her first night at her new puppy class.  This one is held in Logan, much easier for us to get to.  One of the things we trained for was really basic leashed walking, something both of the puppies are really bad at (they pull like little bulldozers).  The instructor gave us some simple techniques for that training ... and within one lesson we see definite progress.  That's the good news.  The bad news?  I can only train one puppy at a time this way, so our walks will now have to be with individual dogs.  Lots of walks!  I did a bit of practice on this yesterday with both puppies, and saw definite progress.  Cabo is picking this stuff up much faster than Mako; she seems to be the smart one of the bunch.

Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment with the insurance agent who handles our health insurance.  He was very sympathetic, and said that he's running into this giant rate increase with most of his clients who are between about 55 and 65 years old.  If Trump really does repeal ObamaCare, the burden may be considerably eased starting in 2018, but for next year the high rates are pretty much locked in.  We went over all our alternatives, and the best option we could identify was to switch from our current carrier (SelectMed) to the local Blue Cross/Blue Shield (called Regence) carrier, and at the same time switch to a lower-tier plan.  The lower-tier plan will cost about the same as the plan we have this year (about $1,400 a month), saving over $1,000 a month in premium.  The coverage is about the same as our current plan, but the out-of-pocket maximum is much higher.  The best feature of this plan from our perspective is a much better network, one that includes every facility and doctor that Debbie is using.  Our current plan doesn't cover her physical therapy facility, for example – even though it's the only one in Cache Valley that has the equipment she needs.  If by some miracle we don't actually get near our out-of-pocket maximum, we'll actually save some money with this plan.  If we do hit our out-of-pocket maximum, the total cost will be about the same as the higher tier plan.

The possibility (probability?) that ObamaCare will be repealed is a very disruptive threat hanging over the entire healthcare industry right now, including health insurance.  I don't mean that it will necessarily be a bad disruption.  But right at the moment, with no idea what would replace ObamaCare as a regulatory framework, the industry has no idea how to invest in their future.  That uncertainty trickles down in lots of ways that people might not think about, from the economic opportunity (or lack thereof) in drug research investment to the wisdom of acquiring another treadmill in a physical therapy facility.  It will be best for the industry if the government can move very quickly to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  This is one of those times when making the decision quickly is more important than making the decision optimally (and this happens quite often in business).  Moving quickly is not a notable feature of our federal government, however...

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