Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Employers: Get Out Of My Healthcare

The question isn’t whether employers should have the right to exclude certain medical care in health insurance plans, based on religious reservations, but why the fight over birth control, specifically?
Why is birth control the lynchpin of moral oversight on healthcare, as opposed to other medical coverage that might be morally objectionable, but doesn’t involve women and sexuality?
Most employers who exclude contraception from company health insurance plans fund its therapeutic use, with a prescriber’s prior authorization. Through this process, your doctor signs a form that confirms you will only use the prescribed birth control pills for acne or PCOS or to treat extreme PMS -- assuredly not as contraception -- and then insurance covers it.
But why this extra moral checkpoint for contraception? What about all of the other medicines that might enable behavior contrary to ideal Catholic morality?
In Christian thought, lust is accompanied by six other deadly sins, and a myriad of health-related sins. Should acne medicine not be covered, because it could contribute to the sin of pride or vanity? Should Cialis require prior authorization, including a note from one’s wife, confirming it won’t be used to commit adultery? Should hospitalization and recovery for attempted suicide not be covered? After all, it breaks the Sixth Commandment, and including it in coverage might communicate that an employer doesn’t take their faith seriously.
What if Viagra is used by a man who’s had a vasectomy? Should we require prior authorization? Can you imagine THAT conversation with your pharmacist?
“Well, it appears this is a restricted item by your employer's health insurance, and we’ll need to do a little more work to get it approved. I have your doctor on the line. He wants to know if you’re free this Thursday for a vasectomy reversal?”
Read the rest over at FemCatholic!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

I Work From Home As An English Tutor.

1. I don't speak Chinese. 

2. I don't write curriculum.

3. I set my own schedule and availability.

4. I make $20 an hour. 

5. I work in my PJ pants while my kids are asleep. 

6. I'm an English tutor for VIPKid, a Chinese company that employs tens of thousands of Americans, called one of the best work-from-home jobs available according to Bloomberg and Forbes.

VIPKid is a Chinese company that hires English speakers (mostly Americans) to teach kids in China, ages 3 - 16, through 25-minute online lessons.

My "work" hours are 5-7 am, Monday - Friday. These are after-school hours in China, so students fill these times quickly. There are many other hours available, including evenings and overnights, but my own kids need me the rest of the day.

The student video chats in the top right.
All you need to start is a 4-year college degree, a stable internet connection, a computer, and some kind of teaching experience. Do you help your kids with homework after school? Have you ever taught religious ed or Sunday School? Do you homeschool? Have you helped kids that you babysit with their homework? This all counts. 

While it's not necessary, if you have a teaching license, you earn a higher rate. If you have ESL accreditation, you earn even more. Many full-time teachers also work with VIPKid as supplementary income.

The curriculum is already done for you. Training videos abound in your online resource center. Mentor teachers provide regular free workshops. There's a Canadian support team for day-time needs and a Chinese support team to provide around-the-clock coverage. This is a huge operation!

VIPKid is not going for a specific look. Their teachers are diverse in every way. 

They are looking for a specific teaching style. YouTube videos of audition tapes might make you think they're looking for theatrics, but calm, clear, and intentional are more important than singing in tune or jazz hands.

There are some really great YouTube videos of sample classes, if you're curious about the format.

So what's the bad?

1. The interview process is grueling! The entire hiring process takes about a week -- so next week, at this time, you could be teaching! -- but it's an intense learning curve. Here's an overview of the process:

- Sign up (5 minutes): provide your basic info and let VIPKid know you're interested. (If you sign up through my link, I'll coach you through the application process with emails and Skype practice to help you get hired at the highest pay.)

- Demo Lesson Interview: study the short powerpoint provided by VIPKid, and teach it to a mentor during the first interview. Your interviewer will provide constructive feedback, to prepare you for your next interview. (There are many sample YouTube videos that VIPKid teachers have uploaded about successfully passing this Demo Lesson.)

- 2-hour Online Orientation Class: everything you need to know about teaching for VIPKid, including how the online teaching portal works, resources, and worst case scenarios. I really enjoyed this class. It is empowering!

- Set up: Create your VIPKid profile with a short bio and some photos, open your availability, and start to teach!

2. You're a contract employee. So you have complete freedom with the flexibility of your hours and commitment. But as a contract employee, you're considered self-employed, which means your income is pre-tax. On the positive side, this also means that your home internet bill, home office space, and any optional supplies you use in class are tax-deductible.

3. There's no guarantee that kids will sign up for you as a tutor. Your profile can tell parents a lot about who you are, and how you teach. Parents see your headshot, a few lifestyle photos, a 30-second video, and a 4-sentence bio. They also see feedback that other parents have left. It takes time to fill a regular schedule. I only had one or two classes a week for the first month. Two months in, my schedule was consistently 80% booked. Four months in, my schedule was fully booked. (Update: one year in, I'm established enough that any time I open a time slot on my schedule, it books within 12 hours.)

Curious? More Questions? Feel free to ask! And if you sign up through my link (here), I'll help you ace the application process and get started tutoring as soon as possible! 

My intent, when I started this process, was just to see how far it would go. My husband and I weren't sure we could swing something else in our family schedule, but we knew the extra income would be nice, and there's no risk, since there's no up-front cost commitment. 

The 12-hour time zone difference means I can work while my kids are sleeping, and then our family can all eat breakfast together, and start the day. 

Just reach out with any questions! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

10 Ways Physician-Assisted Suicide Targets Women

This is an issue that stirs me up with resigned depression more than passionate advocacy. 

I'm not saying that like it's a good thing. What can I say that hasn't already been said? Healthcare that values profits over people is a problem. Failure to listen to women's voices in healthcare is a problem. Lack of care and respect for the sick and elderly among us is a problem. 

If I were navigating our nation's healthcare minefield with a terminal illness, I might opt for physician-assisted suicide as my best choice too. 

We need to advocate for initiatives that give patients options and support: re-frame sickness as a natural part of life, better communicate palliative care and hospice options, mandate insurance companies cover medical treatment for any condition that's covered by physician-assisted suicide, build intergenerational communities, incorporate quality mental treatment into standard healthcare, better regulate nursing home and hospice standards, improve conditions for elderly in poverty, revise standards of feminine beauty to include aging and illness, properly frame self-sacrifice as a healthy virtue, not a death sentence, and challenge medical professionals to listen and respond to women's healthcare concerns. 

Without addressing these related issues of physician-assisted suicide, our society will unduly pressure those most sick among us, those with statistically less advocacy and fewer resources -- women in particular -- to accept expedited death as the only option in their most difficult hour.

Read the rest over at FemCatholic