Jan 4, 2023

Important Information About Your Health Plan

…will not be found in the following

By Ed Goldman

As you know, health plans are reliable barometers of the U.S. economy. Often, the plans thoughtfully raise their rates even ahead of inflation, stagflation, stagnation and for all we know, Face the Nation.

Accordingly, our staffers here at The Goldman State—all of whom utilize a phone tree to call in sick rotationally throughout the week—have prepared an all-purpose IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR HEALTH PLAN letter to cover none of your genuine maladies but all of their butts:

Edgy Cartoon

Rate adjustment


We here at your Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Blue It By One Point health maintenance plan, also called The Blues, care about nothing as much as your continued well-being and disposable income. 

(Before we go any further, YOUR NAME HERE, can you even read this Very Important Letter? Are you a Non-English speaker? We can also send you the same empty promises and assurances in Tagalog, Spanish, Tahitian, Farsi, Erse, Urdu, Esperanto or Klingon—or in all of them at the same time. 

(On the other hand, if you’re not able to read this in its present form, why are we both wasting our time?)

We at The Blues are committed to preventive health care: If we can prevent you from tying up our phones, offices and patient beds, we feel we’ve done our job and may just take the rest of the afternoon off. 

Some of you will see a rise in your co-pay rates for the coming decade; others of you are too blind to see it because you didn’t sign up for our vision plan option, which provides you with one 10-minute appointment with a licensed lens cleaner, one pair of reading glasses and one pair of glasses that can’t read no matter how many dumbbell-English classes we sign them up for.

The rate rise is due to a number of economic factors, which have a lot of numbers themselves. Consider this: “A factor is a number that divides another number, leaving no remainder. In other words, if multiplying two whole numbers gives us a product, then the numbers we are multiplying are factors of the product because they are divisible by the product.” (This information comes from the website SplashLearn—which, despite its name, does not offer instructive videos on the breaststroke or dogpaddle.)

In any event, for mathematical reasons too numerous to cite and too difficult for us, much less you, to comprehend, your monthly premiums are headed due north. You can minimize this challenge—we call it preventive-medicine gouging—by simply doubling the deductible on your health plan and increasing your co-pay exponentially.

What this means in language even you can understand is the following:

CURRENT COST OF ANNUAL MEDICAL CHECK-UP: $345 (your co-pay portion is $7.25 and a can of food)

NEW COST OF ANNUAL MEDICAL CHECK-UP: $355 (your co-pay portion is $1,050. We’ll waive that can of food. Too many of you were bringing canned okra-in-tomoato-sauce, anyway)

We regret that we are also raising drug costs (did you expect a prescription for Viagra to do anything but rise? Ha-ha. Laughter really is the best medicine, isn’t it?). Currently, Lipitor is $47 per month. Starting next year, it will still be only $47 but it will be per day. We hope that won’t raise your blood pressure (Ha-ha. See above). 

What we’re most excited to tell you about is our transition to telemedicine in many disciplines.

Now, instead of having to drive to the medical center, pay for parking and sit in a roomful of no-doubt contagious people, you’ll be able to have your appointment by Zoom. Your personal physician will look over your charts in one of his homes—North Shore of Lake Tahoe, South Shore of Lake Michigan, Lake Burj Khalifa in Dubai—but you can help simulate the familiar office experience by striping naked and sitting on a cold metal table in your own home! and waiting a half-hour for the doctor to deign to see you. 

To enhance the visit, why not invite a few contagious neighbors you know to join you and also strip naked. A special discount may be available to you if you have objectively attractive contagious neighbors. This discount is not available if you’re getting other discounts but we both know you’re not.

Thank you for reading this! If any of the preceding proved disturbing, remember that an EMT is standing by—provided you can remember what the number is for 911 services in your community. And in what language.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


For all the talk about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and boards, I’m constantly shocked that our society is extremely slow to correct the blatant inequities between men and women’s professional sport athletes.

Limited sports opportunities and wage gaps from 20 to over 100 percent according to some studies still exist in soccer, basketball, golf, tennis, and swimming (Exhibit 1: stellar performer and female Associated Press athlete of the year 2022 Katie Ledecky)

Things may be improving—but it’s unfortunate that it takes events such as Brittney Griner’s 2022 arrest and release in Russia to bring a global spotlight to the problem.

The good news is that in 2022 women’s sports surged in popularity, with more fans tuning in than ever before, breaking all records in attendance and viewership. And fans kept coming back for more. I was one of those spectators, digging my fingernails into the armchair with each poor play or bad call, and screaming in delight when my favorite players scored. It’s just a high level of pure honest-to-God entertainment and fun.

A recent report conducted by the National Research Group says that 3 out of 10 sports fans in the US say they watch more women’s sports now than they did five year ago. And it’s partly because television stations are waking and realizing that the more women’s sports are being broadcast on television, the more the audience gobbles it up.

So, when you are talking about D&I in the workplace, don’t forget to shift that same perspective to sports. In 2023, let’s all vow to get behind our girls and women athletes.

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