Sonoma County Bastards
If I haven’t said so before, I’m a County of Sonoma (California) law enforcement retiree. I spent 21 years with them, and an additional 10 years with the City of Santa Rosa (California), also as a law enforcement officer. That’s a lot of years. One of the things that my retirement included, and was promised by those public entities, was medical coverage throughout my retirement days.
There are lies, my friends, and then there are damn lies. I am a member of what is called the “County Health Plan” because I live outside the boundaries of California, and as such, qualify for nothing else offered by the County of Sonoma. I’ll call it the CHP because that’s what the County of Sonoma calls it. It comes in two varieties--an expensive plan and a cheap plan. The word “cheap”, however, is relative.
On Wednesday, 3-28-2012, I received in the mail the annual Health and Welfare Benefits Booklet from the county--the name of the booklet is the high-minded “Pathway to Informed Decisions”. Makes me all tingly just reading the cover. On the very first page of the booklet, I’m informed that the current cost for me for the least expensive plan (which includes a 50 dollar co-pay for a simple doctor’s office visit) for my wife and me will be $948.00 per month starting in June of 2012. That’s more than my house payment.
Combined with the recent hike in gasoline prices and heating the house prices (a different issue altogether), it might as well be a million a month. We simply can’t afford it despite the fact that we both work--underemployed to be certain, but we work. Were I to opt for the much better $20 co-pay plan, the price jumps to $1271 a month.
So, we’re going without medical coverage for the first time since I joined the Army back in 1968. I hope nothing really bad happens. If it does, I’m pretty sure that I’ll simply die before my time, leaving the County of Sonoma without further obligation on my behalf, which, frankly, is probably what they’re rooting for.
I hope I live forever and then never quit paying me.