Sunday, November 25, 2018

Blizzard warnings, Instant Pot warnings, and other stuff

 We’re under a “blizzard watch” at present.  I will be surprised if we get more than an inch of snow, but I sort of hope I’m wrong.  I like snow, except for the danger involved when people like the grandson’s wife, who have to drive to work on Sunday.  Looks like Iowa will get the brunt of it.  

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on my blog, so I’ll tell the sad story now:  I wanted the larger 8-quart Instant Pot instead of the 6-quart model I’ve been using for several months, so when I saw a great deal for one,  I ordered it from Kohl’s, online.  It was under $70 with all the coupons and discounts involved, so I got a great deal... I thought.  Unfortunately, the third time I used it, it died completely.  No light came on when I plugged it in.  Cliff and I tried everything.  I googled the problem.  In one place, fuses were mentioned, so we looked for a place a fuse would be.  No luck.  I called the number for the manufacturer.  The lady on the other end said there wasn’t a fuse, but if I jumped through a lot of hoops, they would give me the bottom portion of my 8-quart Instant Pot at half-price.  Really?  I bought this thing in September and it died in mid-November!  That’s the best they can do?  

Kohl’s has always been great to deal with if you want a return or replacement, so I took it to the nearest location and traded it for another one.  I just took it out of the box yesterday, but didn’t use it yet (Thanksgiving leftovers aren’t gone).  I follow several Instant Pot Facebook groups; this morning I just happened to see a comment that bothered me.  A lady said she had intended to get the 8-quart, but after reading the Amazon reviews, decided that model must be defective.  I went to check it out:  At first things looked great, with an average of at least 4 1/2 stars out of 5.  But as I scrolled through, I saw far too many people saying theirs stopped working after very few uses.  The reason the average rating is so high, I imagine, is that most people do their reviews after they use the product only a few times.  I’m guilty of this myself.  

So I did a Facebook post telling people about this, and I’m repeating it here:  If you bought the 8-quart Instant pot on Black Friday, you’d be wise to return it for a refund, or else exchange it for the six-quart model.  Go to Amazon and scroll through the reviews:  At first you’ll see nothing but praise for the 8-quart Instant Pot, but keep going and you will see one-star reviews saying theirs stopped working after one or two uses.  If the manufacturer won’t replace a defective product... and this company will not... you really don’t want to do business with them.  Please spread the word!  

On to another subject, retirement and Social Security.  Cliff and I neither one had a pension coming when we retired.  We both had very small amounts of money in 401K accounts (by very small, I mean not really enough to buy a decent used car less than five years old).  I didn’t work outside the home more than half my married life, and Cliff spent a lot of time working for small businesses that didn’t have any perks.  My knees gave out after less than five years at Kohl’s Distribution Center, so I put in for Social Security at age 62.  It wasn’t much, believe me.  Now, Cliff spent 13 years at his last job, which was a great one with many benefits.  We made a point of putting enough in 401K so the company would match it.  Cliff retired at age 66.  Between the two of us, with our house paid off, we live quite well on what we receive.  Or we did, until the medical bills began coming in.  

Medicare makes sure the bulk of the bills are paid, but the amounts they don’t cover add up to more than we can continue to handle.  We have managed up to now, but alas, it won’t always be so.  I’m in the process of trying to figure out what steps to take for future hospitalizations and major illnesses.  I guess I should say here that we did NOT sign up for supplemental insurance.  Why?  Because even with the house paid off, at $200 each per month, we wouldn’t have had enough to live on.  

The grandson’s suggestions was this:  Just don’t pay the bill.  His point was that we don’t need good credit anyhow, because we don’t use credit any more.  He has a point, but that really goes against the grain.  We have always, even in our poorest times, had a perfect credit rating.  I’d only choose this option if there were no others.

The next time one of us has to go through expensive medical procedures or hospitalization, we could wait for the bill, then go talk to someone about making affordable payments.  I’d love to be able to talk to someone about this  right now, so I’d know what’s going to happen in such a case, but I don’t think that’s a possibility.  It’s one of those bridges you can’t cross until the time comes.  

Recently I realized there is another option:  Truman Medical Center (East) isn’t so far away; it’s where people go who can’t afford anything else.  That place deals with you according to your ability to pay.  I have a local Facebook friend who is in poor financial straits and has many health issues who was deliriously happy when he found out he doesn’t have to pay anything at all there... and he isn’t old enough for Medicare yet.  One of my dearest friends who died a few years ago always went to Truman East and loved the doctors and the care she and her husband received.  So that’s an option.  

You younger folks, these are decisions you might make when you are considering retirement.  If you can afford it, get the supplement.  In our case, it was hardly a choice, because we’d have been living from hand to mouth with that extra $400 coming out of our Social Security.    

Am I worried?  Nope.  If you have pensions or a 401K, you certainly will have no problem getting the Medigap coverage.  By all means, do it.  We had no choice, and we will take one step at a time.  Everybody has to die sometime.  Even in the ‘60’s when my grandma died, most people just died when it was their time, rather than having drastic measures taken to keep them living.  Once you realize that yes, you ARE going to die, it isn’t so scary; you aren’t that concerned about when it will happen, once you are past 70.  

I still believe in the words of the old hymn:  “Be not dismayed whate’er betide.  God will take care of you.” 



The Feminine Energy said...

Isn't it just the most horrible thing... that we senior citizens have to worry about such things? :-( I've written about this on my blog as well. *sigh* I'm of the opinion that living hand-to-mouth is better than not living at all... you know what I mean? Medical care is as important as food, clothing and shelter.... and, in some cases, more important. My Aunt retired from being a crossing guard for the school system at age 85. She worked that little job in order to pay for her Medicare supplement. After she pays her utility bill, insurance, telephone bill, and all that jazz... she has $325 left per month for gasoline, food & incidentals. It's a shame but supplemental insurance is critical. Shop around, Donna, and talk to a LOT of insurance brokers. Ask them what you can do. I believe you can get supplemental insurance thru AARP & the federal government too. Lovingly, Andrea xoxo

Donna. W said...

Andrea, we talked to an insurance man last week. Because of our health issues, we can’t get supplemental insurance. When you first sign up for Medicare, you can get the medigap no matter what issues you have. After that, if you aren’t perfectly healthy, forget it. I will live the rest of my life as I always have... one day at a time, rolling with the flow.

The Feminine Energy said...

I just thought of something, Donna. Could you possibly get enrolled in "Obamacare" (The Affordable Care Act)? Preexisting health problems are not allowed to be counted towards coverage or premiums. The enrollment period is now. We just enrolled in it. My husband and I are both 62 with one dependent still at home. If we counted our Social Security income and nothing else, the coverage for all 3 of us would have been $246.70. I'm guessing that for just 2 people it would have been around $200/mo. and that would have been for $600 deductible individual and $1,200 deductible family. It's wonderful to "roll with the flow" but unfortunately you might end up rolling with a lot of medical debt on your back and then lose what you do have in bankruptcy. It's hard, I know. We're in the same boat... with a 21yo adopted dependent that we've got to carry too. My love to you, Andrea xoxo

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I saw the weather warnings. Hope you all weathered to storm with no mishaps. It's blowing it's way into Ohio today. Rain then changing to snow, but we aren't going to get much. I have the supplementary insurance that pays for what medicare doesn't cover. So far I can still afford it. Thankfully, I've not yet had to use it, but keep it just in case. Hope it all works out for you one way or another.

Margaret said...

Hope that the storm was a bust. A little snow is OK, as long as it doesn't cause too many issues(and danger) to people. I love snow when it's just on the lawns and trees, but on the road...nope. Your post should be required reading for those who work in the insurance industry and politicians. It's so unfair that you should have to deal with these worries and stresses. I feel fortunate to have a pension and Patt's social security, not that it touches what my ex and current boyfriend make from their Boeing pensions. Their insurance cost is also minimal. Perhaps I should have worked for Boeing instead of teaching for 37 years? ;) My medical insurance is $700 per month, but my medical savings account(from my unused sick leave) will pay the premium for a couple years, getting me closer to medicare. It's truly scary how close all of us are to financial hardship.


i hope the blizzard missed you. my husband and i live off social security alone, so i understand what you're saying all to well. we just take it one day at a time. all you can do.