Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jon & Kate + 8 - some thoughts about the divorce

Just posted this comment to a conversation on TwitterMoms, and thought it was worth sharing here, as well.

On Jon & Kate's divorce:

I was also surprisingly sad about the divorce, especially since I've only seen a few episodes of the show.

I do feel that Kate was unfairly demonized in the press. With a husband as laid back as Jon, someone had to take control of that household! Was she overbearing? For sure, but she has EIGHT KIDS, and Jon didn't seem to be proactive at all as a parent. I sensed that if Jon were left alone with the kids for a day, Kate would have come home to six soiled diapers and a colossal mess where her tidy home once stood.

I also take issue with the judgments cast on Jon and Kate as parents in the media and on social sites. How do we know if they're good parents? We only know what editors and paparazzi allow us to see. I'm a working mother. Kate probably travels more than I do, but I'm away from my kids 40+ hours per week. She probably has WAY more time with her kids than I do, and you know what? GOOD FOR HER - if I had eight kids, I'd kill for a few nights a month in a hotel room, too!! And she's making far more money than I do, and again - good for her. Jon quit his job, and someone needs put those eight kids through college - and feed, clothe, educate and entertain them along the way.

I have sympathy for Jon, too. I'm sure he never signed up to be the father of eight. And Kate was probably a lot more laid back and fun when they got married, too.

That said, I think the fact that he's looking for apartments in NY says a lot about him. He's going to be 2.5 hours away from his kids, if he lives in NYC all the time. I take Jon for a guy who married young, got a lot more than he bargained for - or was ready for - and is looking sow some wild oats while he can.

My bet: You'll see him in the tabloids mingling with the likes of Lindsey Lohan before long.

I hope Kate's making enough to pay for a few good nannies. She's gonna need them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I *hate* Insurance Companies


Gotta vent: #1 son had to get new orthotics last month, something that is NEVER covered by insurance. But, miraculously, when I called Aetna (yes, that's right: Aetna) I was told that they would be 100% covered. Hear that, Aetna? On May 14th, you told me my son's orthotics would be 100% covered. 100%.

Well, shocker of shockers, the podiatrist's office left a message yesterday saying that Aetna wasn't paying. Really? Did they not say 100% covered? I swear they did.

So I called Aetna this morning, and guess what? They're NOT covered. They would be, if my son were geriatric or diabetic, but since he's only hypotonic, they're not. Somehow, they left that part out. Funny, that.

Amazingly, my 5/14 conversation was documented - they do recognize that they told me we were covered. But we're still really not covered.


Thank God for flex accounts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Affordable Autism Treatment

I have one, possibly two children on the autistic spectrum. Fortunately for me, my 7 year old is very "high functioning," and fully mainstreamed in the public school. (My youngest is awaiting diagnosis - his evaluation will be in August.)

I'm a working mother who, fortunately, has a working husband and good insurance. Our developmental pediatrician is 100% covered. But here's the thing: She really doesn't do anything except diagnose and recommend treatment. The treatments she recommends are largely therapy-based - behavioral psychologists, social skills, occupational therapy, speech therapy...

None of these treatments tend to be covered by insurance. If you're lucky, you can submit them as "out of network" expenses after you hit a deductible (in our case, I think it's $750) and then you can get 70% back. But my husband works for a big company, so our benefits are great. Most people don't have that much coverage. And not all our therapies will be eligible. Social skills, for example - the therapy we need most - is NEVER covered.

We've used a flexible spending account in the past, too, and even that can't be used for some therapies.

Needless to say, providing therapies for one child on the spectrum is a financial hardship. We haven't even begun to treat child #2 yet.

And again - we're lucky. We're middle-class and well insured. But not all families of autistic children are as fortunate as we are.

So, I was really pleased to see a tweet from MomsRising this morning.

It sees that New York's new Senator (and HRC's Senate replacement), Kristen Gillibrand, is proposing affordable autism treatments in New York state. Since she estimates that treatments can cost up to $6K per month (I 100% believe that), this is what she's proposing:

First, I’m pursuing a mandate on insurance companies to ensure they provide affordable, quality treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders. We must make sure families can get the treatment their children need, through insurance coverage they can afford.

Second, I’m authoring new legislation to provide military families with affordable treatment. My new legislation, the Uniformed Services with Autism Heroes Act or the “USA Heroes Act”, will require TRICARE, the military health insurance program to cover the full cost of autism treatment. Currently, TRICARE caps autism coverage at $3,000 a month – about half the treatment a child needs for effective therapy. What’s worse, thousands of military families are forced to the bottom of long waiting lists for autism specialists each time they are relocated. Families that fight our wars and defend our freedoms should not face bankruptcy for trying to get the medical care their children need.

And as the third step in my plan, I’m calling for a portion of the $10 billion that was given to the NIH under the President’s Economic Recovery plan be dedicated toward autism research to give scientists and laboratories the resources they need to reach the next breakthrough.

Right on, Senator. Now help protect the jobs of women who have to leave work to take their kids to therapy....

Here's the Senator's YouTube video on the topic. (And, btw, seriously impressed by the Senator's use of Social Media.)