Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Shitty HMO Time



"Hi Tom,

I have a question that a lot of temps I know are interested in: What are the better (best) health plans offered by the various agencies?

Given the ability to keep health insurance through COBRA and that temps frequently switch agencies when moving from one project to another, many temps are interested in knowing which agency offers the best health plan for their dollar. The reason they would seek to work for agencies that offer preferable plans would be to keep the coverage benefits through COBRA.

Agency web sights almost never offer details (ie price and selection) of the plans they offer. Moreover, most people (attorneys too) don't have enough knowledge about important coverage distinctions to make intelligent and cost savvy decisions. As the recent movie Sicko demonstrates, not all health care plans are created equal and some plans (especially HMO's) do not offer sufficient coverage to warrant the premium they charge.

Do you have any information on this?"


Great idea. It's time for another chart. Plop down agency, city, and HMO plan in the comments section. Thank you for your help.

As far as retirement goes, I would also be interested in hearing what everyone has to say. Tom the Temp personally tries to invest in a Roth IRA through the Vanguard family of funds. http://www.vanguard.com Does anyone actually invest in the agency 401(K), where you have to buy temp agency stock? Bad Idea!

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why bother with this exercise? All the agency plans charge top dollar - none of the agencies subsidize them in any way. They all suck.

Just another way temps get hosed.

Anonymous said...

That shit is overpriced. It's a joke.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a somewhat useful topic. I am tired of the incessant whining on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Its worse than that Hudson offers two, one is through a company called starbridge, its the one most people get offered, then they have a "normal" one. Most people can not get the normal one as temps, but it does happen sometimes, but you pay full cost. The starbridge plan is basically a scam, if you run the numbers you will spend more on the payments then the coverage provided. Update has been known, it is my understanding, to just take the payment for the coverage, but then not actually pay, keeping the money for themselves, and assuming you won't have a problem while you are with them. The state attorney generals office really needs to inviestigate them to see if this is an on-going practice or is really just a bunch of unfortunate mistakes, as update says.
All of them are not really great because you pay full fare on it, and if you leave to go to a different agency, which in this business you have to in order to keep working, you can do cobra, but its only for 18 months, so if you don't return to that agency within 18 months, no more coverage. As for the 401k plans most of them are also a total joke with very very low, matching payments, like 3%. One of the reasons these jobs are such cash cows is that they pay no benefits, so its almost all pure profit for the agencies, and the firms save big too because they are not funding and managing 401k plans, health care benefits, employment insurance, etc. They get rich, you'd better not get sick.

Anonymous said...

I once had that starbridge shit. What a friggin scam? I picked up a virulent throat infection, which I probably picked up from the packed Hudson KFC chicken coop at 65 Broadway, and I tried to use my Starbridge health "coverage"; no clinic or health provider knew what that shit was, and I practically got laughed out of the waiting room.

Anonymous said...

I think it's cool that Hudson has paid holidays. I always forget about that then all of a sudden there is extra holiday money in my paycheck. Yeah!

Anonymous said...

Starbrige does suck, but would you prefer being unemployed? I hear Stabucks has nice medical coverage. Maybe apply to work there instead of 65 and shut the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

Lexolution has paid holidays too! That is, of course, if you can get the moody secretary to put you through to the accounting guy, and she doesn't hang up on you.

Anonymous said...

Hudson has someother coverage besides starshit, i think. don't be so cheep with your health and elect that one next time. healthcare is expensive for everyone but would be worse if we weren't working at all.

Anonymous said...

That's why if I feel a chill coming on and I am feeling a bit under the weather, I won't go the extra mile. I will go home early, or I will come in late. Fuck it. With what they are making off us, and the fact that many of us have inadequate health insurance, it's not worth it killing yourself on these projects. Let them fire me. C'est la vie.

Anonymous said...

"Starbrige does suck, but would you prefer being unemployed? I hear Stabucks has nice medical coverage. Maybe apply to work there instead of 65 and shut the fuck up."

You must work for Hudson. Seriously though Starbucks IS a better deal, I don't need to go law school or even college, and go 100k+ in debt to work there and have b.s "healthcare" to boot. You shut the fuck up, I hope you get cancer in your asshole. Asshole.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever worked at Starbucks you fuckturd? Try getting bitched at and getting hot coffee dropped on you for 40 hours a week.

Anonymous said...

hey 11:31, not only do you know nothing about benefits, but you should learn how to spell the word "cheap"

Anonymous said...

12:02- what I do know about bennies is that I've got them and you don't! HA! Keep temping with that starshit insurance. Now pour my iced venti latte, bitch!

Anonymous said...

I buy health insurance on the private individual market - which is a better deal if you're switching agencies regularly. It's not that expensive, compared to the wage I get. Get a high-deductable plan, they're real cheap and we make enough to cover minor medical ailments and checkups out of pocket.

My Attorney Blog said...

Since I bounce from agency to agency, I carry my own private health insurance. I didn't find the coverage provided by agencies to be anything spectacular.

Many if not most agencies do offer 401K plans with some matching. Most require working for a certain number of hours before qualifying. The matching amount is small ($1500 a year or so) but if you work for several agencies, you can try maxing out each separate plan.

Depending on the agency's 401k plan, you usually have choices not limited only to the agency's company stock.

Anonymous said...

its amazing that a troll who cant spell a 3rd grade word and spends all day on a temp blog was given a perm job

Anonymous said...

I can tell you Update Legal has really crappy plans and coverage. They recently switched to some similar no name brand. You're going to pay almost $400 a month for a single person plan or over $600 a month for a family plan. That's just plain insane. I can easily get a better price and better coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

I just don't understand why these agencies don't realize it would be in their interest to contribute to a health plan. I know it certainly would be a selling point for me to work for a particular agency if I knew the benefits really were good. If their fear is that not enough people would participate, they're very wrong. They should try having such a program and watch how many people migrate to working with that agency.

The truth is agencies are only out for themselves and despite what they say...care very little about their employees. It's their loss as much as ours because I and many of you continue to have little loyalty to a particular agency.

Anonymous said...

Uninsured people may want to check out the health clinics- they offer sliding scale health coverage. And staffed by real doctors. Check out Callen-Lorde in Chelsea.

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:45 numbskull!! Agencies are out for themselves- and you are out for...??????

Anonymous said...

Amazing. 3 years of law school, one or two bar exams passed, and we have to even consider going to a sliding scale health clinic.

A sense of entitlement? Yes! Damn right! For at least affordable health insurance, I feel a sense of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

the moody lexolution cow secretary is moody because her insurance plan sucks, too, and she has very bad menstrual cramp problems. have you ever seen a cow in heat? not pretty.

and i wonder what kind of plan the update stepford wives have. it must be expensive, given all the stds they must contract with all of their whoring.

Anonymous said...

If you want coverage for all....then vote for Hillary Clinton.

Anonymous said...

Hudson can suck my nutsack. I see your horns, Mr. Cohen.

Anonymous said...

Look! The retard who keeps repeating himself is back! We missed you!!

Anonymous said...

Glad to be back, Julie! Now go fuck yourself!

Grunt said...

Few things:

I'm with Dine and they don't even offer a health plan. I've been with them for 2yrs and nothing (I do get paid holidays off however). I joined the Freelancers Union and get very inexpensive but quality health insurance through them. I recommend everyone check into it.

Anonymous said...

freelancers is only if you are in the entertainment and arts community or something like a web designer. they require proof that you have earned money that way. depending on which state you are in-- ie, are you in CT (you can get better healthcare plans there that are fairly cheap as in 270 bucks or so- do the research), NJ (not sure) and NY ( if you are between jobs try the state plan). As for the agency plans- they do suck. Check out the state and city bars for their plans. Also, check around for health insurance aggregator sites that will provide quotes. Much of this comes out of the fact we don't have bargaining power. That's a side point. Right now, if you are looking for insurance- what I just suggested are some options. You are probably going to pay about 300 or so regardless. But then in America right now the middle class is being squeezed regardless of your profession.

Anonymous said...

by the way, i agree the bitching on this site is somewhat tiresome, and seeing this post is nice. these are issues that we all have-- ie, how to get quality health insurance, dealing with the cost of servicing student loans, cost of housing, saving, etc. it would be nice to go beyond the bitching to actually talking about the issues we face and finding additional information, if any, for solutions. like i said, the real solution is bargaining power, but that's not going to happen because well- lawyers are risk adverse as a lot, and organizing requires chutzpah.

BUattorney98 said...

How can we organize when there are so many loose screws? some of us really want to do good work and improve our situations, but we are tarnished by these weird bursts of anger from bad temps (see above).

Anyone of merit who reads this stuff gets turned off and all credibility is ruined when you have temps making personal attacks and cursing on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Let's take teachers in the suburbs. There are alot of loose screws in those schools, but they organize effectively, and they all make 80K with full benefits.

Anonymous said...

12:19 - Ever think it might be agency and/or firm people who are anonymously posting the "loose screw" comments to make the blog look bad? Would you put it past them, given the way they act otherwise?

And as far as organizing goes, it will never happen in the temp legal business. Read a history of how labor unions were put together back in the day. Research how the unions effectively kept workers from crossing the line as scabs to work. Hint: it involved violence. Beat-downs were handed out to those who crossed the line. Examples were made of them so no one else would contemplate crossing.

Making workers scared is the way they forced compliance.

And to keep them complying, they had/have 'strike funds' in order to help feed the workers' families while the strike is in effect.

You know as well as I do that some (most) temps need cash badly to pay the damn student loans, as well as other living expenses & family feeding.

Can you imagine even attempting to physically intimidate temp attorneys into not crossing the line? Especially female temps?

And can you imagine temp attorneys willingly making contributions to a union strike fund?

It will never happen.

Anonymous said...

This is one reason why I only date folks with health insurance. Hopefully, I can get a spouse with really good insurance. My tooth has been bothering me for a while now. I went to that crappy NYU School of Dentistry...okay, it wasn't crappy BUT they wanted to charge almost $700 to extract a tooth under anaethesia (sp?) Um...okay. I'll OD on anbesol and wait for a spouse!!

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone always down on the secretary from Lex? So she's fat. But she has nice hair. Come on, Caro is not that bad. I see her inhaling cancer sticks all day. She's hot dammit! I want some of that stinky breath right around my....

Anonymous said...

Finally we are talking about real issues here. When I was temping I had to forego the insurance because the costs were too high. I figured out that if you go to a lower income neighborhood you can find quality healthcare at one of the private doctors in that area. The doctor is usually glad to accept a private pay patient since they predominantly take Medicaid patients (which the state pays $28 for)and an office visit for a private pay is usually $75. Also most doctors if you mention that you are a young attorney just out of school and working without insurance will cut you some slack and give you sample meds instead of giving you a prescriotion which is the most expensive component of helath care. Dental care however is prohibitivley expensive without insurance so I had to put that off until I got a real job with insurance.

Anonymous said...

I know all about dental. But you have to cough it up and go for check ups so they can catch everything on time. Prevention is better than cure. It's easier to look after a small cavity than a root canal. Still expensive though :(

Anonymous said...

In regard to the earlier post about working for E.P. Dine:

I would avoid any type of work relationship with E.P. Dine in NYC. They are the worst of the worst, agency-wise, and that's pretty bad, knowing what we know about the agencies and what scumbags they all are.

We all need to make a living, and we're in a tough position as temps because of all the issues raised on this blog - no need to rehash them all now.

But I really feel that it's better and more dignified to starve and be late on one's student loan payments than get involved with E.P. Dine in any way, shape, or form. They are that terrible.

Their name should be in BOLD CAPS with !!! after it on Tom's "Agencies That Engage In Questionable Labor Practices" area.

Anonymous said...

Winston Staffing (which staffed one of the temp projects for the credit card anti-trust last summer) has terrible health insurance. I was told they had health insurance, i would be eligible for it quickly, blah, blah, blah, and it turned out to be awful. Whereas most plans have a deductable and pay after that, this health care plan would pay up to $50 for a doctor's visit. What doctor charges only $50 for a visit? And the emergency room and hospital coverage, which is what we really need insurance coverage for, was really bad. I think it was unethical for them to tell temps they had health insurance to get them to take the job.

Anonymous said...

Cohen and the Hudson piss ants can eat my balloon knot.

Anonymous said...

Hudson makes you buy the company stock with their 401k.

It might be a good investment with Captain Julie Zuckerberg on board. Since she's been there, Hudson's projects make "Amistad" look like a Carnival Cruise.

There's a really high profit margin in the slave trade, so buy up the Hudson stock! Things are looking up for the company!

Anonymous said...

"Hudson makes you buy the company stock with their 401k."

This isn't true. I'm with Hudson right now and I've bought exactly ZERO shares of their stock through their 401k plan. A good thing too, since the stock looks like its tanked in the past three months.

Anonymous said...

Guess the slave trade isn't doing so well right now then?

Has Captain Zuckerberg lost her way? Or have the firms finally realized that her navigator Allan Cohen is so stupid that he makes Update's retarded, whoring Stepford Wives seem like virginal Rhodes Scholars whose brains aren't actually addled by syphilis?

Anonymous said...

I agree that EP Dine is generally really awful. However, the one thing that they DO right is their 401(k). No company match (which sucks of course), but the fund offerings are actually quite good and the waiting period before one can contribute is quite short by temp agency standards (1,000 hours, without waiting a year or so).

Anonymous said...

Great! So you'll have plenty to invest after 1,000 hours of being on one of Dine's 40 hour per week jobs with no OT.

Anonymous said...

I am now COBRA'd with Clutch, who have group Blue Cross/Blue shield. They pay half, so for one person it's $28 per week or $31 with dental. $10 co-pay for each doctor or specialty visit (no lab fees charged, no charge for imaging) and $10 copay for generic drugs.

Anonymous said...

Wow - that's a great deal. Most of these scumbag agencies charge you $130 per week for medical and dental. It's ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing else special about Clutch, aside from the health insurance. They pay for holidays. But like any other agency, if you irritate or rub anyone the wrong way (like asking why paychecks did not post to direct deposit) you get blacklisted from future projects by them. They are swift to take offense.

Anonymous said...

Dine has health insurance and transit/health flex spending benefits. Not the best, but its there if you want it. Coupled with the paid time off and 401k its not the worst package out there..

Anonymous said...

Forget Starbridge and those other health insurance plans especially if you're in your early to mid/late 20s just out of college. You're young so save up. Eat cheap shit, live with your parents and save up. After 6 months to 1 year under the grueling bullshit also known as Dechert/Hudson, find a better job. Experience counts no matter what shithole you've worked in, but remember to learn as much as you can. Those whose thumbs are all the way up their assholes will think you're doing them the favor by taking "responsibility". Which is essentially true to a certain extent, but the important thing is you better yourself and make yourself more marketable. It's necessary to work in shithole places like Hudson and Dechert so that you know what you WANT and DON'T WANT. Besides this shit is temporary. Oh, and don't let those Hudson-turned-Dechert attorneys fool you into believing you'll be made PERMANENT. This is a temp job, nothing there is permanent. Besides most of those attorneys are losers, people who've wasted their lives getting law degrees and are now bittered that they can't work in a REAL law firm. Don't force yourself to kiss people's asses, but do that sparingly, if the outcome will be much more favorable to you. You only get what you put in, just look at those attorneys who've got their thumbs all the way up their assholes. haha

Anonymous said...

Check on-line. I am a New Jersey resident and pay $217 a month of a Blue Cross PPO plus which is as good as what the agencies are offering for $100 to $200 less per month.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 11:19 pm, if temp agencies "just take the payment for the coverage, but then not actually pay, keeping the money for themselves, and assuming you won't have a problem while you are with them," then that is an ERISA violation. Go to www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-erisa.htm (US Department of Labor ERISA compliance).

Anonymous said...

Also www.dol.gov/ebsa/erisa_enforcement.html (ERISA Enforcement).