One of the results of my being laid off by Sun Microsystems last month is that we are now reviewing and deciding what to change in a wide array of family finances. This is not just about our household budget. We are analyzing our insurance coverage (property, life, and health), wills, investments, etc. For my last 26 years, many of these were tied into Sun’s benefits, retirement, stock and other offerings. This review process is very time consuming but enlightening. Because my lay off was at the time that Sun became Sun-Oracle, the company itself changed when my circumstances changed. This means more than the JAVA stock symbol going away.
Most of the Oracle benefits providers are different. For our family’s medical needs, in some cases the new offerings are better. For example, Blue Cross this month radically lowered the amount they would reimburse for services by More Physical Therapy, where my son has been going several times a week to help his chronic headaches. We got a remarkably frank letter from More PT dated 30 December 2009 that said:
…we were deeply concerned when Blue Cross notified us earlier this month that it is canceling its long-standing contract with all Preferred physical therapy providers in California effective January 31, 2010. In place of the existing contract, Blue Cross is offering a new contractual arrangement that dramatically changes reimbursement methods… The new contract that Blue Cross is offering includes, among other things, a nearly 50% reduction in the allowable fee for each of the services we provide… In its letter regarding the proposed changes to our contract, Blue Cross stated that it hoped ‘these changes will be viewed by our therapy providers as exciting and positive.’ We hope you understand how offensive and ridiculous this statement is. In addition, the Blue Cross website states, ‘Our mission is to improve the health of the people we serve.’ We would argue that what they are attempting to do to physical therapy providers and patients across the state will, without a doubt, achieve the opposite effect.
Changing back to United Healthcare (which was our family’s health insurance company before Blue Cross) will mean that more of our providers are in-network, so some of our medical costs may go down. In the last week, have spent hours talking with Beck Grabau (Financial Advisor, Park Avenue Securities, 408-392-7818) about life insurance and investments. This afternoon, we spent an hour with Bill Halper (Halper Insurance Services, 408-866-4470) discussing health insurance offerings and costs. I will be happy to get all of this sorted out so I can get to work full-time on my new job of finding a new job.