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Beth Cox Report: November 2014

Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,

It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season - it's health insurance season!

If you live in America, and use the health insurance Marketplace (, the open enrollment period for 2015 coverage is from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

I didn't like navigating the website bureaucracy last year, but I had to do it again this year. Why? Because I received a thoughtful letter from my insurance company, kindly informing me that the plan I subscribed to one year ago was being discontinued.

However, my coverage wouldn't automatically lapse - oh, no. The letter warmly reassured me that if I did nothing at all, I would be automatically transferred to a brand new plan. Oh, and the new plan would charge me an additional $40 a month, for near-identical benefits, plus the addition of child dental coverage. (I have no children).

So, I could do nothing and fork over an extra $480 during the course of a year, or I could get over my dread of electronic forms and use the Marketplace to look for a cheaper plan.

Simply getting into the Marketplace involved two customer service phone calls, because I had forgotten my old password. The automated password reset didn't work, because I'd also forgotten the answers to my security questions. Then, the first time customer service tried a password reset, it didn't work. But it all proved worth the effort, as my new health care plan is roughly $100 cheaper a month than my old plan, with only slightly reduced benefits.

The moral of the shaggy dog story is: if you're not independently wealthy, check the Marketplace out. You just might save literally hundreds of dollars.

Of course, it is also the Thanksgiving and Christmas season - one seems to have smoothly transitioned into the other - and one of the many things I am personally thankful for is something all too often taken for granted, and that is the right to free speech. November's Link of the Month is The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

the website of an organization dedicated to upholding this fundamental building block of democratic government.

Now, the holidays are a busy time here at the Midwest Book Review; we usually see a seasonal increase in book submissions, which means we need to scramble to review more books, and mail out more review tearsheets. We were running low on stamps, when an extremely generous donor sent us $500 worth of postage!

I'm certain Dad will mention this in the Jim Cox Report Postage Stamp Hall of Fame, but I just wanted to add my own personal thank-you, not only to that individual, but also to everyone who has contributed stamps to the MBR over the years. You help us continue to do our work of getting out the word on good books!

I'll close with a mention of one of those good books, a Wisconsin memoir that is November's Review of the Month:

Little Hawk and Lone Wolf
Raymond C. Kaquatosh
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
816 State Street, Madison, WI 53575
9780870206504 $22.95

Little Hawk and Lone Wolf: A Memoir is the life testimony of Raymond Kaquatosh, also known as "Little Hawk", who was born in 1924 on Wisconsin's Menominee Reservation. He tells of living at an Indian boarding school, his years of military service, the woman who would become his wife, and the lessons he learned from a reservation timber wolf he befriended. Little Hawk and Lone Wolf is an unforgettable coming-of-age tale of the Great Depression, World War II, and postwar era, touching upon the generational connections between young people and their elders. Highly recommended, especially for public library collections.

That's all for the November 2014 Beth Cox Report. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving (and Black Friday)!

Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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