Mary Turck's blog

Staying poor in America

Start poor, stay poor — there are exceptions, but that’s pretty much the rule in America. From last week’s depressing news cycle, some insights on how it works —

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#BringBackOurGirls — now?

Today’s news reports claim the Nigerian government and Boko Haram have reached a truce, and that the girls kidnapped six months ago will be returned. I want to believe. I want this to be true. And as much as I want to believe, I know that parents and families of 200+ girls want so immeasurably more for this to be true, for their girls to return.

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If you can't afford health insurance … three ways to get help

Health insurance costs a lot — family coverage costs more than $1300 per month. Most people can’t afford that. In other countries, the government provides health insurance. Not here. So what can you do to get help paying for health insurance?

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Cheating schools, students and taxpayers

What’s next after Minneapolis Public Schools terminated its $375,000 contract with Community Standards Initiative? The Star Tribune’s Alejandra Matos reported in detail on the story back in September, and nothing has happened since then to make MPS or CSI look any better. CSI, led by Clarence Hightower and Al Flowers, still has the first $46,000 payment — so the taxpayers are out that money. Going back a few years and looking at other contracts makes MPS look even worse.

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Citizenship Day comes to Lake Street

Anti-immigrant critics who complain that, “They don’t want to learn English and become citizens” should see the action at CLUES. The Lake Street office bustled with activity on October 11. About 30 immigrants and lots of volunteers showed up for Citizenship Day, ready to complete the 21-page application and move on to filing.

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What does health insurance cover?

Last year, I paid $30 for my flu shot. This year, I’ll pay nothing, as long as I go to my own clinic or one of dozens of others approved by my health insurance company. That’s one of the changes made by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires insurance policies to cover ten basic areas:

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What you need to know about health insurance bills, networks and tiers

I couldn’t believe the bill — $447 for a single office visit. Even worse, the bill said my share was $168. I thought my deductible was $75, so that seemed like too much. As I always do when faced with puzzling bills, I called the insurance company.

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New sanctuary movement challenges consciences

Beatriz Ramirez and her two young children moved into Chicago’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in September. Rosa Robles Loreto has lived in Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church since August. In Philadelphia, the Indonesian Mennonite Philadelphia Praise Center and the Jewish Tikkun Olam Havurah stand ready to welcome immigrants seeking sanctuary. They are part of a new sanctuary movement, with religious groups from Maine to California committing to shelter immigrants in danger of deportation. Besides offering sanctuary to immigrants, they challenge the country’s leaders to change harsh and punitive immigration laws.

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Putting together the puzzle: Deductibles, copayments, co-insurance, out-of-pocket limit

Cathy’s son was born with a heart defect that required immediate surgery and then continuing expensive care as he grew up. She told her story on #getcovered:

“My husband and I … both had good jobs and insurance and figured that meant that we would be all set should we ever need it. We soon learned, however, that like so many Americans, we were underinsured: we had coverage–it just didn’t really cover anything when it came to the care our son needed to save his life.”

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Beyond the premium: What will you really pay for health care?

In 2013, Chris had inexpensive health insurance. His premiums were only $200 each month. That sounds pretty good, especially since average premiums for a single person are more than $400 per month.

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