I wrote a few weeks ago about my difficulties in signing up for a California health exchange (CoveredCA) plan. At the time, they said I should be hearing from the insurance company by the following day. I didn't believe that, of course, and indeed, it was a little over two weeks before I finally got something in the mail.
What I got in the mail was a letter from CoveredCA saying that we qualify for coverage for 90 days, but that they want to verify some things.
First, they need to verify citizenship. Fair enough. They want a birth certificate, passport, or INS form. No problem.
They they say "We are unable to match the Social Security number you gave us to our records. Please send us a copy of your Social Security card."
That's a snag. I had a social security card once ... maybe 25 years ago? but I've long since lost it and haven't had any need to go stand in line to get another one. Do I need to do that now? During the holiday season along with the thousands of other people in the same boat?
But the next part is the real kicker:
We are unable to verify that you do not have health insurance through your job or a government program.
- If you have insurance, we need a letter from your job or the deferal/state program. The letter should be on official company or program letterhead. The letter must state the names of the persons who qualify for now, the type of coverage that ended, and the date it ended.
If you do not have insurance, please call the Service Center for assistance.
Neither of us is currently working at a regular W-2 job, let alone one that provides health insurance. So, let me get this straight: it looks like what CoveredCA is telling us is that we can't get ACA coverage unless we can prove that we don't currently have employer coverage. How the heck do you prove that?
Looking at the list of documentation they'll accept, a letter from each of our nonexistent employers, on nonexistent company letterhead, would work nicely.
Right. Uploading documents (forget using Firefox)
I went to the website, logged in and clicked on the verification link at the lower right. (It's a little hard to find given that there's a bunch of other text on top of the link. Nobody seems to be checking the website layout.)
After clicking through a few more screens, I ended up at a page where it listed two items for each of us: Proof of Citizenship, and Proof of Minimum Essential Coverage.
The citizenship part had a long list of acceptable documents -- much longer than the list in the letter they had sent me (though nothing about social security cards, so I'm not clear where that part comes in). But a passport seemed the easiest thing. So I scanned the photo page from each of our passports, clicked on the link for proof of citizenship, clicked Upload, clicked Browse, found the link to the JPG I'd made of my passport, and clicked Upload.
And I got:
The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.I tried again, several more times. I tried making the file smaller (640x449, 128k), using tif and pdf instead of jpg (following suggestions I found on the web -- lots of other people are also having this problem). But it was no use -- I still got the same message every time.
Finally I found a thread where someone had discovered that it didn't work with Firefox, only with IE and Chrome. So I tried logging in with Chromium, and sure enough -- the upload worked.
It's sad to see how marginalized Firefox has become, when major sites like this don't support it.
Minor aside: there's no way to remove an upload once you've made it. I uploaded both our passports in the space for my documents, before realizing there was a separate link for his documents. I hope that doesn't get my application thrown out.
Okay, on to the next part. Proof of Minimum Essential Coverage
Under the "Proof of Minimum Essential Coverage" category was this list of documents:
- Notice of Action of discontinuance from Medi-Cal
- Notice of Action of discontinuance from Medicaid
- Confirmation of disenrollment from employer sponsored health insurance plan
- Confirmation of disenrollment from health insurance plan
None of them seem at all relevant to someone who isn't an employee and therefore isn't covered by insurance.
Well, the letter did say "If you do not have insurance, please call the Service Center for assistance." So let's try that. Online chat
I have trouble finding time when I can stay on the phone for the 30-45 minutes it apparently takes to get through the queue to a live operator at CoveredCA: I've tried several times, but always got called away to deal with real-world issues before I got to the head of the queue. The live chat link didn't do anything for me a few weeks ago, but this time I got a notice from the pop-up blocker and was able to get the window to pop up.
The chat window tells you where you are in the queue (I started at #47) and counts down, along with wildly varying time estimates of how long I had left to wait. After just over half an hour, I'd finally made it to position #1, and the page changed to say:
Status: CanceledThe only option was a button labeled Request email response. So I clicked it. It took me to this page:
There are no agents available to chat with you right now. Please try again later.
You do not have permission to access this document.
Honestly -- does anybody bother to test any part of this website? It's been live for two months now, and so much basic functionality doesn't work at all.
I tried it several more times (the nice thing about chat, as opposed to phone, is that you can go off and do other things while you're waiting in the queue), in both Firefox and Chromium, but got exactly the same results every time. Googling suggests that lots of other people are seeing the same thing.
Makes me wonder if anyone is getting through ... or are there just a bunch of employees sitting there at their keyboards at CoveredCA headquarters, wondering why no one is asking for help via chat.
I really wish they'd offer email assistance. That seems like it should be a no-brainer, given the long wait times for interactive help either by phone or (ha!) by the nonexistent chat. But there's no such link on the website.
Well, there is a space for comments in the Verification Request screen. So I typed in a question about how they want us to prove we're not employed. At the bottom of the verification page, the button options are "Close", "Save and Exit", "Withdraw" (greyed out), and "Submit". I wonder what the difference is between "Save and Exit" and "Submit"? I crossed my fingers and went for "Submit", and now my verification status is "Submitted". I guess that's good. Check your messages
Another thing I learned along the way was that there was another copy of the letter in my "Secure Mailbox" in the links at the top of the page after logging in. They apparently don't send any notifications that you have messages -- I wonder why they bother asking for email address, if they're not going to use it for anything -- so if you're waiting for any step of the process, be sure to log in periodically and look for that "Secure Mailbox" link.
When you do check your messages, they're in PDF! Not only that, but there's apparently something odd about their MIME type, because Firefox doesn't display them inline like other PDFs. They display okay in an external viewer, though.
So I'll be checking messages to find out what happens with the verification process, wondering whether it will all be finished by December 15, which is apparently the (unpublished) deadline for enrolling in a plan if you want it to be active by January 1.
Meanwhile, I'm trying not to think about the ominous coda in the letter they sent:
It's time to choose a plan. Your coverage starts after you choose a plan and pay your first premium (monthly cost).
Would that be in addition to the plan I supposedly already chose two weeks go? Or did they throw all that away, and I need to go through that step again when and if they decide my verification is complete? I wonder how I would know? Phone to Blue Shield
A friend who's been having similar problems signing up for a plan suggested I call Blue Shield to see if they'd gotten any signup info for me. Unfortunately, I got the letter during the Thanksgiving holiday, so I had to wait until Monday to call Blue Shield, and just called them today.
I got through after a 15 minute phone wait, and got a very helpful person who, unfortunately, informed me that they haven't gotten anything from CoveredCA about my coverage.
After establishing that, yes, CoveredCA still has their usual 30-plus-minute phone wait, he suggested that I put in a request on the CoveredCA website for them to contact me. I said, What? I'd love that, but I haven't been able to find any way to get feedback except the phone number and the non-working live chat link. He said he'd walk me through it.
We both logged in at the same time. He said, "See the tab in the row across the top that says Resources?" Me: "No, there's no Resources link. The four tabs at the top say Learn, Preview Plans, Apply, and Maintain." He continued to insist that I should click on Resources. I did a Find in Page -- the word Resources only appears once in the page, as a header down near the bottom right, and under it are a couple of things like links for where to download a PDF viewer. Clearly not what he was talking about.
I'm guessing he was logged in as an agent/provider, not as an individual customer like I was. Anyway, he used the page they offer to agents to put in my info and a contact request. I'm not holding my breath.
But just now, after CoveredCA timed out my log-in session and put me back at the home page (what's the point of the home page, anyway? You can't even log in -- you have to click on Start here before they'll give you a Log in link) I tried clicking on the Contact us link at the bottom ... and on the page that took me to, there's a Click here to request information or provide comments link that I suspect is the same form he filled out for me. Why they offer the non-working Live Chat link on every page, but not the Request information link, is another mystery.
(Oh, I think I've figured it out now. The start page is there because the real site is at v.calheers.ca.gov, not coveredca.com, and their website designers don't know how to make a website redirect automatically, so they make everybody click through an extra button to go to the real site.)
Meanwhile, time is ticking away. Nobody seems to know whether the deadline to sign up for Jan 1 is actually December 15 or December 23 (the Blue Shield rep wasn't sure either), but either way, if it takes more than two weeks for CoveredCA to submit any information to the insurer, it's hard to see how it will be possible to get signed up by the deadline if anything goes wrong and needs to be resubmitted.
Fortunately my existing health plan is still active (never mind that it costs $1000/month more than a subsidized plan). So I'm luckier than many. My friends whose existing plans have been canceled may end up with no coverage at all come Jan 1.
I had a couple of tasks aside from general review. The first was getting more images on the site prior to launch to make it more engaging to people. I reached out to LoCo teams and got a lot of great photos in, but then got very busy. My second task, finding quotes of community members, got stuck on my poor, long to do list.
But now I shall continue my quest! We need short, 1-2 sentence, quotes from community members.
What do you work on and why?
What inspires you about Ubuntu?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include the name which you want to be credited under for the quote, and what you work on if it’s not part of the quote.
We’d like to scatter these quotes throughout the site, so feedback from folks from a variety of teams will be super valuable. Once I’ve collected all the quotes I’ll submit the full list to the team and get to work adding them to the site.
Few weeks ago, Sheryl Sandberg shared at the CBS This Morning show that "The data says that stereotypes hold us [women] back. The reason girls don't think they're good in math and science is because everyone tells them they're not good at science. Studies show that if right before a math test you tell girls, 'Girls are good at math' or 'Girls do well on the test,' they do better." Of course, people are not always available to tell you how awesome you are and how great you are going to do! That’s why you need to help yourself [and those around you]: Tap your back and convince your wonderful mind that you can do it [exams, projects, whatever awesome dream you have]! You will be amazed at the results.
Back on my lecture about “The Power Thoughts”, the professor - a well-known engineer - showed us how thoughts are converted to chemical, physiological actions and reactions. The next experiment perfectly proved how thoughts can induce a chemical reaction:
Think about a lemon - a sour candy - a green lime
Imagine cutting a wedge of lemon or lime
Imagine smelling the lemon or lime
Take the wedge of the lemon and put it in your mouth.
Chew the wedge of the lemon - the very sour juice of the lemon now comes into your mouth and stimulates your taste buds
Concentrate - close your eyes and don’t block your thoughts - make it a reality for yourself.
You will notice that your mouth became more watery. Salivary glands have responded to the sour taste of the lemon/lime thoughts. QED!
Don’t let that impostor syndrome fool you! Shut “anti-self” thoughts and shine bright. Success begins in your mind! So, next time negative thoughts creep in your mind, remind yourself (yes, you!) that you are awesome, smart and ready to rock the world!
P.S.: Just because I love quotes, here is a related to today’s topic:
Check out this blog about the power of choosing your thoughts: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/choosing-your-thoughts_b_3461686.html
Also watch the following TED talk to find out how your power posing can boost your confidence. It might help you if you feel nervous every time you have a presentation or an interview ;-) http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html
Hi. My birthday is a few weeks from now, and I understand I haven’t written a lot recently. My life has been great. But since I have a domain of my own and time to write, I decided to use this space to ask people to use their end-of-the-year good heart to donate for things they like.
I’d suggest these charities below (as I’ve given my own money to them), because these are things I like, but you’re totally free to chose whatever is meaningful for you.
Thanks for your attention ;)
Impostor Syndrome is a natural outcome for women in a male-dominated field who are constantly told, explicitly and implicitly, that they don’t belong. But what about the flip side – men who constantly receive the message that their achievements are solely due to their superior brains and clever wit?
In which an organiser tries to explain why there are no women at the conference.
I'm sure this has not been the best week for you. I have no idea whether or not you'll actually read this, but I'm writing it because it just felt like the right thing to do.
I read your interview, where you describe that you have "proven with science that gay marriage is improper", with a fair amount of dismay. I decided, instead of greeting the article with derision and ridicule, which has, unfortunately, been the prevalent reaction, to give you a bit of un-asked-for advice. I tend not to do this sort of thing, really (ask my friends.) But I seem compelled to, so I will.
You say you want to be the first African to win a Nobel Prize in science. That's quite an ambition, and a laudable one. And one that will take a prodigious amount of work and drive, and you seem to be on the way, at least in that department. But in the science department... not so much. Let me tell you a little bit about science, and, more particularly, since you seem to be focused on homosexual behavior and gay marriage, a little bit about the science of sexuality. I have a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, if you're wondering about my ability to tell you about science.
Science is really more about asking questions, not "proving" already fully-formed ideas, like whether gay marriage is "proper". Scientists observe, measure, and form hypotheses, which are then tested. A hypothesis or theory is proven after a long while of many scientists working together over years. Asking whether gay marriage is "proper" using science is not appropriate. What is proper, anyway, in scientific terms? What does that actually mean? And marriage is a human construction, not a biological phenomenon.
If you are going to scientifically compare something, you need to use things that are, in some intrinsic way, similar. For instance, scientists often study the brains of rats to get clues to how human brains work. Those are somewhat similar things (They are, actually quite different, but similar enough to give clues and directions.) It doesn't make sense to use what goes on inside a tree for instance, to figure out what happens in our brains. They aren't alike enough. Even though trees have cells, like brains have cells, they are too different to really make any reasonable conclusions about the human brain based on the characteristics of a tree. You might well compare a maple tree to an oak tree.
You've gone even further than the tree-brain comparison. You are comparing human behavior, which very complexly influenced by biology, genetics, social context, and experience to ... a magnet? And acids and bases? Um, no. No can do. That isn't science. They share very little in common. Sure human cells have chemical reactions - that's an essential part of life. And some cells respond to magnetic charge (pigeons are thought to navigate using magnetic fields.)
So what would be similar? What would be a reasonable kind of comparison to make to human behavior? Well, how about the behavior of the primate genetically closest to us? Do you think that might make a reasonable comparison? Some people don't, and most of those reasons are, frankly, colored by social bias. That's the other thing about science. It is imperative (although very often ignored) that scientists look closely at their own social location and bias, and make sure that it isn't influencing the questions they ask, and the conclusions they draw. There have actually been many studies (one particular, relatively well-known example is actually in the realm of primate behavior,) where people went back to look at old studies and old conclusions, and found that they were badly influenced by the social biases that the original scientists had.
So what about those Bonobo chimpanzees, our closest cousins? You'd blush to read studies of their sexual behavior. In fact, let's just talk about sexual behavior of all animals. Know what? Homosexual behavior, from the occasional dalliance, to the lifetime pair-bonding, is found in 1,500 species of animals. That's a whole lot. I think it's kinda safe to say that at least when it comes to the behavior of the animal kingdom, homosexual behavior is indeed natural, given how often it occurs.
So here's the real advice: stop. Think about what you really want in your life. Do you really want to be a scientist? If you really want to be a scientist, then, get yourself a boatload of books by people like Stephen J. Gould, Carl Sagan, Neil Degrass-Tyson, Diane Fossey, Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and Jane Goodall. Really. I'll even buy some for you, if you can't afford them.
And, let's get personal. Why is this such an important issue for you? Are you trying to prove something to yourself, after all? Have a look at that, will you? It will be fine. Really, it will be. You are loved exactly as you are.
...so they outsourced, for example, to Amazon Web Services (server + network administration).BZZZZT!!! Wrong!! You do not escape "server + network administration".
SCALE 11X attendees voted on their favorite Saturday exhibitors in six different categories, and exhibitors went all out to impress.
The envelope, please . . .
The winners of the SCALE 11X Exhibitor Contest are:
Favorite Clothing Item: Puppet Labs
Most Interesting Swag: HP
Strangest Swag: Zenoss
Most Useful Swag: Silicon Mechanics
Most Passionate .Org: BeagleBoard/PandaBoard
Most Memorable Booth: LinuxChix
Honorable mentions go to: Fedora, RackSpace, O’Reilly Media, Linux Astronomy, OpenStack, M-Go, EFF, So Cal Python.
LinuxChix had the most votes overall, by a good margin. Silicon Mechanics had the most votes in a single category. The SCALE 11X T-shirts scored high in Favorite Clothing Item category.
***Article from https://www.socallinuxexpo.org/scale11x website and mailing list!
Pictures from jillix’s HP Pre3!
***Top picture taken with Michelle’s camera and
the rest of the pictures taken with Jill’s HP Pre 3!
***Taken by Jill with her HP Pre3 running webOS!
so we “dug up” some of the spuds… really we just tipped them out of the bag they were growing in.
worked really well – didn’t take up land (just left the bags leaning on a brick wall) and were easy to get out. Will do again
There’s something so very christmasey about new potatoes, freshly dug from your own garden.
Christmas was stinky hot all over the place — so we spent a chunk of christmas day in a swimming pool – had some fun with the water proof camera and a gopro.
check out this old lady – she was just chilling by the track in Zealandia.
Turatara are awesome because they’re dinosaurs — all their cousin are extinct but tuatara are still hanging out in the sun.
And because they have a vestigial 3rd eye in the middle of their heads… yes. THREE EYES.
This blog has been about Microsoft and its market share.
Specifically, on June 2009 I bet my friend Nick that Microsoft would lack a majority market share come June 2011. We discussed the three products that HAD the majority market share as of the summer of 2009:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer for browsers
- Microsoft Office for office suites
- Microsoft Windows for operating systems
Due to personal reasons, we did not conclude this project properly.
It was too time intensive to research the true market share of Microsoft products. It is without question that Microsoft no longer holds the majority market share on browsers, now with about 30% of the market share. The office suite question is still under debate due to Google Apps. Also under consideration is if tablets replace the desktop.
In summary, the question all along should have been “What will we count?” as office suites and operating system platforms instead of “What will we use?”
Without question, Microsoft is struggling to stay relevant as revenues plummet. Indeed, upon 2011 year close Microsoft is a different company. It is sad. I do not want Microsoft to fold. Competition is good even for the Apple and Linux-based products I prefer using.
After-all, I am a MSFT stock-holder.
Ramadan is here again. Actually we are about 13 days in…so almost half way done.
And you’re wondering what could I possibly doing that is new, right?
More pictures of dates and fried stuff?
An artistic shot of a glass of water?
Well I intend to host my very first Iftar.
I’m going to give people food to break fast.
Now my mom is not very happy about this.
She may not like the menu either.
But I had a plan…for how I could cook everything…bake bake bake…I really need a second oven…
However I was saved. I am outsourcing the meat and one side.
I am making one side and salad (well I informed my sister in law that she is making the salad).
I’m excited and petrified at the same time.
Wsh me luck!
- @palomint The best part about twitter is that we don't have to listen :) <3 in reply to palomint #
- What the crap is this lighthouseapp shit and why is capistrano sending me to it? I just want to fix my deploy, not sign up for things. #
- @xiexie11 Fuel => [DEPRECATED] `deploy:restart` is going to be changed to Passenger mod_rails' method after 2.5.9 – see http://is.gd/2BPeA in reply to xiexie11 #
- @english_major No, it turned up that day. in reply to english_major #