October 25th, 2004


Another Missing Book

Not only am I missing Seabiscuit... I'm missing Xenophon too.  I remember reading his Socratic dialogues, and enjoying it.  I even remember where I bought it - at the Seminary Co-op bookstore in Hyde Park.  But I can't find the book.  And I need it for the next meeting of my book club. I'm even questioning my memory... is it possible I just browsed the book at the store?  I don't know.

Rhyme of the Day:

Where have you gone?
Must I order you again on Amazon?


Open Enrollment Letters

I have just finished producing (directly or indirectly) about 40,000 open enrollment letters, and that is that. If you don't know what open enrollment is, you don't work for a large U.S. employer, or you really haven't been paying attention to those HR department memos. Open enrollment, as an annual phenomenon, is a creature of federal law. It's a time of year when employers have to let you switch from one health plan to another. Technically, there's not a calendar spot that is required, but most companies seem to do it sometime around year-end.

Say you hate your current HMO. Or... say you just had a baby and you want an HMO now because they pay for vaccinations. Open Enrollment is when you get to pick another health plan, if your employer is large enough to offer more than one. Often you get to make other choices too, sometimes rather complicated ones.

Well, for most people open enrollment may be a time to scratch their heads over the cryptic health insurance lingo. What is a deductible? Is a co-pay a good thing or a bad thing? What is a formulary? These are questions that baffle intelligent men. It was like that for me once. Then I got involved in programming support for making open enrollment happen at an employer or two. Now for me it's a time to churn out a lot of letters and process a lot of choices - in a tight time window, which certainly adds to the tension.

Rhyme of the Day:

I've churned out the letters.
I hope that this year
Everyone finds them
Simple and clear.

(Actually, our letter this year has been drastically simplified, so I am hopeful that the letter itself will not baffle people.)
  • Current Music
    Scharwenka... kind of like Chopin