So Over These Overages

I have hesitated writing this blog post because a) I had hoped the situation would be resolved by now; b) I don’t like dragging companies through the mud image-wise if there is anything I can do through less public channels to resolve things; and c) I wasn’t confident about my ability to explain the facts.

But honestly, how many facts do I have to have to explain that our family’s cellphone bill is now higher every month, all because a button on my teenager’s iPhone was stuck?

Our family have been Verizon (AllTel, then Verizon) customers for a long time. Since the time when the only phone options were “dumb,” since before we relied upon our phones to document our life in pictures, since before Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram existed. We have paid them lots of money, been loyal customers, and had a great relationship with them on social media.

I try to keep up with tech news, which is why I knew that Verizon was in the process of phasing out “unlimited” data plans. As most consumers would, I had hoped that our time for this phase-out would come later instead of sooner.

Tenley took her iPhone in to Verizon a couple of months ago because the button on top was sticking. To my understanding, she was encouraged to “just get a new phone,” since the new phone would be “free.” She was satisfied with that arrangement, understandably.

So was I, until I started getting the “data alerts” that she was inching closer to a “data limit.”  I immediately emailed a Verizon rep who has been a huge help to me with various questions over the years, asking why all of a sudden I was getting “data alerts.” I received no response.

Cyberbullying Two

Our family then went to Verizon and met with a rep, who explained that she probably wouldn’t use “too much over” and reviewed other data plan options we could have if we switched the family’s internet service to Verizon.

And the data alerts kept on flowing.

I tweeted Verizon, and ended up talking with a very nice rep, who explained that she should take advantage of wi fi wherever she was. She has been trying but still the “data alerts” and additional charges keep pouring in.

All because a button was stuck.

It’s not right, and it has led to an additional expense our family can ill afford as we try to recover our financial footing after two years of unemployment for my husband and as we prepare for college costs for our daughter.

If I hear back from Verizon, and they agree to reinstate Tenley’s unlimited data plan, I’ll most certainly update this blog and give Verizon all the props they earn. If I don’t hear back from them, all I can say is if you are a Verizon customer who still has the precious unlimited data plan, don’t assume a “free replacement phone” will be all that free.

We learned the hard way.

Hello, Maxwell. Who Are You?

Quick! When I say the word “insurance,” what comes to mind?

A few guesses:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Suits, ties, traditional business look and feel
  • Bills, forms, paperwork, disclaimers
  • Conventional focus on what happens when an enrollee gets sick

 

As someone who thinks about insurance a lot (because my work is insurance-related, because I have a family that needs insurance, because it’s in the news all the time now), I am intrigued by a new venture that is taking a fresh approach.

Maxwell Health has the potential to make you think about insurance differently:

  • Virtual, personalized look and feel
  • E-forms, simple paperwork, concierge assistance
  • Progressive focus on proactively rewarding healthy choices

I have to admit the “magnet” that got me paying attention to Maxwell is the Jawbone Activity Tracker.

Jawbone

I have read about the Jawbone on Badass Fitness and also on Mindy’s Fitness Journey, and I had an opportunity to speak with a user recently. He was excited about keeping track of his activity, his food intake, and his sleep patterns — all through a simple device he wears on his arm that downloads information into his iPhone and gives him feedback about his progress.

Prior to wrapping a Jawbone around someone’s wrist, Maxwell Health works with people who need health insurance to help them find coverage. Potential enrollees obtain quotes using a simple questionnaire, and choose among respected health care providers such as Cigna, Aetna, Humana, and Kaiser Permanente. After enrollment, Maxwell users get “concierge” level help with such tasks as physician recommendations, claims handling, and prescription advice.

One aspect that appeals to a lot of my peers is that Maxwell Health makes health insurance accessible to the self employed as well as small businesses for whom traditional insurance packages are out of reach.

To return to the Jawbone:  when people insure themselves through Maxwell Health’s insurer partners, they also have the option of adding the “wellness” package, which hooks them up with the Jawbone or Fitbit (for Android users). As people pursue their wellness goals, Maxwell opens the door for them to get tangible incentives like Starbucks, Amazon, Best Buy and ToysRUs cards as rewards for their fitness lifestyles. Users also get specific wellness guidance under a personal health coach, incorporating information from the Cleveland Clinic.

Maxwell Screenshot

The insurance landscape is changing for all of us. Will this product be “the one” that makes a difference or is the right answer for everyone? No. In the words of Veer Gidwaney, Maxwell CEO and Cofounder, “Maxwell doesn’t solve every problem. But it solves enough prolems for the average person and small business to have a smile on their face.”

New Technology + Timeless Commitment to Service = Something Worth Considering

Hello, Maxwell.

**Note: I did not receive any compensation from Maxwell Health or any of the entities mentioned here. I just think it’s an interesting idea worth learning more about!

Four More #VDay10K Days To Boost Shot @ Life

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My son got a routine childhood immunization recently. It took a fraction of a minute. The cost was negligible. The biggest decision was which bandaid to get (camo got the nod).

For 1.5 million children every year, inability to receive vaccinations against preventable diseases results in death. That’s one child every 20 seconds. One child whose death could have been prevented by something we know how to do.

When I participated in Rotary International’s End Polio Now “World’s Biggest Commercial” (the “this close” campaign to demonstrate how very close we are to eradicating polio), little did I know that my favorite app, Charity Miles, would soon be partnering with Shot @ Life to encourage people to walk, run, and cycle in order to raise awareness and funds to give even more children worldwide access to vaccines for conditions such as pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, and polio.

rotated this close

Rotary International “End Polio Now ” We Are “This Close”

The #VDay10K, a partnership between the United Nations Foundation and Charity Miles, encourages walkers, runners, and cyclists to use the free Charity Miles app to attempt to raise $10,000 for the UN Foundation Charities of Shot @ Life, Girl Up, and Nothing But Nets by 2/28/13.

February 28 is just four days away.

You know how a lot of childhood immunizations require “boosters”? Let’s look at it this way. Many Charity Miles supporters have taken the first “shot” at raising the bulk of this $10,000. Now we can all band together for the “booster” that seals the deal. A booster would ensure a child is truly inoculated against a threatening disease. A walk/run/cycle booster would be good for you, me and these children.

Charity Miles founder Gene Gurkoff said it well when this campaign kicked off:
“We don’t want people to open their wallets, just tie up their sneakers.”

Four more days! Let’s:

Walk four miles, enough to donate a polio vaccine through Shot @ Life.

Protect a child from malaria by cycling miles toward nets through Nothing But Nets.

Run a mile, five, or 10 and provide a week of education for a girl with every single mile through Girl Up.

My kids are fortunate. Getting immunizations is a routine for them, a bit of a nuisance but something that becomes an afterthought when the camo bandaid is tossed in the trash can.

Let’s go an extra mile for kids who are not so fortunate.

Four More Days.

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 *Information about childhood immunization came from the Shot@Life website.

BlogWorld Connections

I started this page as a “display area” for the various blogs that I participate in, link up to, and enjoy. I haven’t decided how to handle other bloggers’ “buttons,” but several of them require their buttons to be posted in exchange for a linkup and others are just people I appreciate enough to want to support.

3/5/12: Cookie’s Chronicles Best of the Blogosphere Hops. I linked up my favorite post from February 2012.

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10/8/11: Share Your Blog Posts Blog Hop – the goal is to share “real” comments with one another!

Blog Post Hop

9/16/11: Hop Along Friday Blog Hop – with the a rockin’ cute badge too!

7/9/11: “Social Media Girlfriends” creates pure fun via the weekly Twitter #SlumberParty. They do other stuff too (of course) by slumber party is my fave!
7/2/11: I love “Band Back Together.” This blog’s mission is to  “provide educational resources as well as a safe, moderated, supportive environment to share stories of survival. Through the power of real stories written by real people, we can work together to destigmatize mental illness, abuse, rape, baby loss and other traumas so that we may learn, grow, and heal.”

6/19/11: I am adding Mindie’s Party Mindie Style Link Up Button. This woman has a way with a bacon graphic:

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5/30/11: I am adding the button for the Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge. I am thinking this summer ahead will be more “crazy” than “lazy” but we’ll see!

Crazy Days of Summer

5/8/11: I am adding a button for Heartfelt Balance/Handmade Life, a blogger I “met” when I cohosted a blog hop this weekend. Michelle is hosting her own hop and here’s her button!

4/25/11: For now, Maria of Tough Cookie Mommy gets the first button “add.” I enjoy Maria’s Monday Mingles and love the fact that she teaches in the Bronx, a borough where I spent almost three wonderful work years at Fordham University!

4/26/11: It’s another addition to my “BlogWorld Connections” page – the awesome Mother’s  Day Giveaway 2011 at Five Minutes for Mom! Check it out!

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4/26/11: Mommy Only Has Two Hands Hump Day Hop!
Its Hump Day!
4/28/11: My Journey With Candida Week End Blog Hop:

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4/30/11: The “Mom Pledge” – because I believe that there is unlimited potential in the “mom blogger” community to learn from each other, even when we are of wildly differing opinions, as long as we do it respectfully.
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