Monthly Archives: November 2007

Lenovo discount for Americorps Alums premium and lifetime members

Just in time for Christmas comes a discount offer from Americorps Alums that you can use to get yourself that ThinkPad you’ve been wanting (because you know Aunt Jane is just going to knit you another Cthulhu iPod cover).

If you’re a premium or lifetime member over at the Americorps Alums site, Lenovo (makers of IBM ThinkPad notebooks) is offering you a 15% discount off web pricing until Dec 15. Also, you can receive an additional 10% off specified ThinkPad notebooks. If you’re a premium member, check your messages at the Americorps Alums site for details. If you don’t see anything there, click over to the discount center for the full spiel.

Note: You have to have signed up as a member on the Working Advantage site to qualify for this discount. Working Advantage is a free discount site you receive a membership to as part of your Alums membership. I just signed up in the process of writing this post and checking out the details of the Lenovo offer, and it was painless. Your “employee” number to enter in the registration box is right there on your Americorps Alums discount center page in the Working Advantage box. Just copy that and head over to the site, click Register, then Employees, then you fill out your contact info, check off any newsletters you want and “hey, presto!” you’re in. Easy peasy.

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Quick Americorps roundup

Just got back from a week’s vacation in the land of the unwired, so I’m going to catch up with a quick roundup of interesting Americorps news tidbits I’ve corralled from the web:

  • Campus Progress does a good job of outlining the benefits of National Service for college graduates in its article, Don’t Sell Your Soul.
  • The Buffalo News highlights the Enterprise School, a charter school that provides intensive education, support and opportunities for inner-city youth with the help of Americorps members and other volunteers.
  • A page from the Americorps site shows you how to put your Americorps service to work for you.

Americorps as health insurance bridge

The Brown Daily Herald has a piece about a serious issue facing college graduates, namely the students’ loss of health insurance as they graduate and subsequently lose coverage under their school health insurance and, often, their parent’s insurance policies as well:

“Many colleges and universities require health insurance,” Jeanne Hebert, director of the University’s Office of Insurance and Risk, told The Herald in an e-mail. “If students are faced with unexpected medical expenses, they may not be able to continue their enrollment in college.”

After graduation, students no longer have access to SHIP, and most are barred from their parents’ policies when they turn 22 or cease to be full-time students. Some, like Rastelli, apply for jobs with firms that provide insurance. Others enter graduate programs, many of which have policies similar to Brown’s. But those who don’t receive insurance, and have no mandate to purchase it, face a difficult choice.

As the article notes in its last paragraph, Americorps offers a comprehensive health care plan, although it doesn’t include coverage for preexisting conditions. It’s not always the best insurance in the world – our coverage was so skimpy when I was serving my first year that we called it the ginseng and band-aid plan – but it’s better than nothing. I do know of at least one Americorps member in my group who was staying on a second year partly because of the health plan (and child care subsidies) that Americorps offers.

This is a real challenge for 20-somethings. Although health care plans can be cheap for healthy graduates, those with preexisting conditions or disabilities can face premiums that far outstrip the weight load of their fresh-out-of-grad-school earnings.

Alas, Americorps isn’t much help in these cases, but for the otherwise healthy college grad, it’s an option that can give you a year or two of breathing room while you suss out your options, decide what you’re going to do and build up your resume/experience, which will hopefully improve your chances of landing a benefits-loaded job or one that pays well enough to afford your own plan.