Friday 8 June 2012 - Health insurance (probably a recurring theme)
Blue Shield before coming to the US - denied as not a California resident
Blue Shield after coming to the US - denied as not been a California resident for 6 months
Kaiser Permanante after coming to the US - denied due to pre-existing conditions
We managed to get physical exams for each of us yesterday. What should not have taken long ended up costing twice as much as quoted and taking 3 hours. Originally the doctors said it would be $55 for each of us - fair enough. Then when we turned up with a different receptionist on duty, she was firstly surprised that we wanted a physical though she did later admit that was what the computer said. Secondly she said it would be $110 for me because of regular blood tests and $170 for the wife as she had to have a pap scan on top of the blood tests. Later we found out that the pap scan was unnecessary but I suppose it's worth checking anyway.
It's clear we're not going to get individual/family cover, at least for the parents. For the kids we're paying massive premiums (about $1600 per month total). That is supposed to come down once we send the physical exam results. They also hiked the rates due to lack of prior credible coverage, despite sending it. So we'll send it again, with the results, with the expectation that the premiums will barely differ. At least if they do drop then we'll be pleasantly surprised!
The only solution is for one of us to get a job. I'm currently tied into a contract with my previous employer in the UK, probably for another couple of months as it's limited by a total number of hours rather than a fixed end date. I can look for a part time job but up here in Victorville there aren't many. So I'd need a part time telecommute job for a software consultant that is more old school Win32 programming - very slim pickings! So the wife, currently on maternity leave, is probably going to have to go back to work.
In the UK she was an ICU nurse (critical care, a big step up from a general ward nurse). Previously she'd worked in the Philippine Heart Center which is quite prestigious. So she's well qualified, except she has to take her NCLEX exam. This is actually quite a tough exam which can't really be learnt through practice alone so she has to revise a lot. Having two kids does not make that easy! She did do a fair bit while in the Philippines though, as she had family to take care of the kids. Bear in mind that I'm working 8-10 hours a day so there's little time left for me to look after the kids.
It is possible that she could become an LVN. Again, this requires an exam, but should be easier than the NCLEX. There are two hospitals up here in Victorville where she could possibly work though it obviously depends on job openings and actually getting hired for the job. But it's one of our last hopes to get decent health insurance!
One thing that will help is that our 4.5 year old son starts pre-school next week. It's three days a week, up to 10.5 hours per day, for $90 per week. I'm told this is really cheap for the US in general, and the school has a 4 out of 5 star rating. He loved it while we were looking around. Yes, it's more money, but it's investment for the future - as in more time for the wife to revise. It's also good for him to get out of the house more and be with other people.
Change of subject. After our medicals yesterday we went to our cousin's place in Tarzana, a two hour drive from here. Coming back late evening we were alarmed to find the Satnav/GPS reporting a 1 hour delay. But we couldn't work out where the problem was! We though it was on the 134 which kind of cuts a corner, so we would instead head further south and then east on I-10 instead of I-210 - in fact it's only a few minutes' difference normally. But as soon as we did that, it recalculated and decided there was a delay of 1h30 instead! Aargh. With a bit of rummaging around Google Maps on the phone, the wife managed to find out 3 lanes of I-15 were closed in Cajon Pass. Now, we couldn't remember how many lanes there actually were - it was either 3 or 4. Perhaps the lack of "road closure" meant it was still passable but with severe delays. At 11:30pm I really didn't want to sit in a traffic jam. So we called the wife's aunt who lives in San Dimas, on I-210. At that time, it turned out we were only 10 minutes away on I-10 - once her aunt said we could stay the night, worked out where we were, we crossed 3 lanes over to exit less than a mile later to head north and to San Dimas! At her door, as I say, 10 minutes later and we had a sleeping quarters for the night instead of traffic jams. Phew! Oh, and I-15 through Cajon Pass is the ONLY way to get to Victorville without a one hour or more detour around either side of the mountains. Had we known when we left Tarzana we could have detoured immediately, heading north of the mountains and then along the top, and only got back 10-15 minutes later than using I-10/I-15 south of the mountains etc.
My attempt to get an EB1a visa for the US, a person of extraordinary ability, which gives a green card pretty much immediately, and there is no waiting period unlike most other visas.
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