Starbucks turns drought water into big cash flow

Posted April 20, 2014 By Kevin Knauss
Even in drought, Starbucks finds great cash flow from Folsom Lake water.

How much is water worth? For Starbucks, they are able to take $0.66 worth of Folsom Lake water and convert it into $11,668.80 dollars. The San Juan Water District, who treats and delivers drought depleted Folsom Lake water to residential and commercial customers, is asking homeowners to use less water and pay more for it while company’s like Starbucks generate handsome revenues from residential conservation. The current and proposed Stage 3 Water Warning rate structure continues to have residential customers pay more per unit than Starbucks and other commercial uses who use the water to create revenue and profits.

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Wonderful diversity at UC Davis Picnic Day and Parade

Posted April 17, 2014 By Kevin Knauss
American flag on roller blades, UC Davis Picnic Day Parade.

For years the UC Davis Picnic Day parade name has belied the truth of the event. Far from a mid-western farm festival, the Picnic Day parade has consistently had the most diverse participants of any celebration I’ve attended. The parade is a spectrometer of the local area showing the variety of community and religious groups, liberal protests, conservative causes, campus groups and parade music from different bands. All of these folks from different races, cultures, religions and political philosophies walking together down the parade route. This is America. This why I keep coming back to Picnic Day. This renews my faith and hope for the future of humanity.

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A visit to Blue Shield to fix the billing issues

Posted April 16, 2014 By Kevin Knauss
Rattling the corporate cage of Blue Shield to fix billing problems with the ACA.

To be honest, I was fully prepared to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the Blue Shield of California corporate offices in El Dorado Hills. Numerous phone calls and emails on behalf of a client who had made his monthly premiums like clockwork, only to have his health insurance cancel, resulted in hollow promises and no action by Blue Shield to resolve the billing and cancellation nightmare. My last hope to help restore the health insurance for my long distance truck driving client was to rattle the corporate cage of the carrier.

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Is HackerCare real health insurance?

Posted April 14, 2014 By Kevin Knauss
HackerCare is a membership association, not health health insurance.

HackerCare is not health insurance. HackerCare is a membership based association that offers group insurance through a carrier named Starmark. If you want to purchase the Starmark group health insurance, you have to join HackerCare. No one should ever be forced to join a fee based membership organization in order to purchase health insurance.

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The journey of a Nigerian transgender man.

Occasionally we all need a reminder that our lives are not the center of the universe and our neighbor’s journey may have had challenges that would make most us wilt. Rizi Timane’s ebook “An Unspoken Compromise” is a short but illuminating account of his journey from young Nigerian girl to adult man. As a transgender man, the unspoken compromise allows the author to maintain a silk thin connection with his fundamentalist Christian parents as he finally transitions in the United States.

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How income and household changes can affect ACA health plans.

Individuals and families who have enrolled in health plans through Healthcare.gov, or a state exchange like Covered California face new challenges as they report income and household changes. Families reporting changes to household size and income may also be triggering changes to their health plan. These changes may result in the entire family becoming eligible for Medicaid, being shifted into a different Enhanced Silver plan or losing the Advance Premium Tax Credit all together.

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Health Net stretches ACA open enrollment

Posted April 3, 2014 By Kevin Knauss
2014 Open Enrollment extended for Covered California and Health Net

Just as Covered California will continue to let Certified Insurance Agents enroll individuals and families in the new ACA health plans, Health Net of California will also accept new applications for enrollment. Applications for both Covered California and Health Net must be submitted by April 15th for a May 1st effective dates. This is only for new enrollments and not for plan changes between carriers.

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The hidden costs of dental, vision and supplement plans

Posted April 1, 2014 By Kevin Knauss
The hidden fees of VSP, Delta Dental and AARP insurance plans.

When searching for supplemental health benefits like dental and vision insurance, be cautious of paying additional fees or joining membership associations tied to the insurance. VSP vision insurance, Delta Dental and AARP all have marketing agreements that mandate the purchase of an association membership or one-time fee. These associations may offer little value to the member and only serve as another revenue stream for the issuing company.

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PCIP

Consumers who were unable to create an online account or start their online application because of technical difficulties can contact a Covered California Certified Insurance Agent to explain that they attempted to get through on March 31 and experienced difficulties. Those consumers will have until 11:59 p.m. April 15 to work with the Certified Insurance Agent to complete their application and choose a plan.

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Home brew citrus flavored water

Posted March 30, 2014 By Kevin Knauss
Powdered hibiscus give the citrus flavored water a cranberry color.

I’ll admit that I’m addicted to flavored water. For years I have been buying Aquafina Flavor Splash and recently started purchasing Mio Orange Tangerine Liquid Enhancer concentrate. When I looked at the ingredients of these two products I realized that I could make a similar concentrated to flavor water at home. While my home brew chemical mixture isn’t quite as perfect as the store bought products, it tastes good and it’s fun to tinker with the ingredients.

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