On The Cost of Bringing a Person Into The World Via C-Section

@beastlyburden No need as of yet. Even though those EOBs are available to the patient, these are still in the "provider and insurance are bickering" stage. (The $1000 she is likely stuck with, as copay, though.) These are not yet patient responsibility, from the hospital/doctor's standpoint and to call now and ask for aid might actually throw a wrench in the system. Which is to say, asking for help might cause those bills to be *switched* to the patient responsibility column to deliver that help and then the provider might stop attempting to collect from the payor and start demanding (incorrect) payment from the patient. It is best to keep an eye on your EOBs but to take little to no action until you actually received a statement/bill/invoice from your providers.

Posted on August 26, 2014 at 5:51 pm 1

On Help a Reader Choose Her Health Care Plan

Healthcare Administrator, weighing in: A thing to clear up in #2 and #3, because you didn't mention it. After you meet your deductible, how much will your insurance pay? Because at that point, it WILL pay something. You will no longer be on the hook for the full 100% of allowable. Standard is usually 80% and 20% your responsibility. As a self-reported pretty Health Person, I would pick #3 and contribute another $500 or so to the HSA. (If you're paid biweekly, $30+$19. Less than either other plan.) Here's the thing, you have to factor in the cost of the copays in #1. They exist and you will have to pay them. And depending on what the set copay amount is, you might end up paying a BIG chunk of the allowable amount on each charge. Like close to what you would be paying if you were paying 100%. Plus paying more each month, plus not getting $500 free, plus not getting to send aside money (PRETAX! YAY!) for any future healthcare. An example: See your doc for an ear ache. Doc's office charges $250. The negotiated rate between your insurer and your doc is $80. In example #1, you will pay your copay. $30 or $50 or whatever. From your own money. In example #3, you'll pay $80. But YOU won't actually be paying anything. Because that $80 is coming from your HSA money, the first $500 you didn't have to do anything to get, the other $500 you saved tax free. So your calculation should factor that bit of math in. "Will I, Indecisive Lady, have more than $1000 of ALLOWABLE expenses in a standard, reasonable year (taking into account the free yearly OB/GYN visit you get)?" Chances are, probably not. There are the outliers, though, which IS why a lot of folks feel more comfortable with a standard PPO/HMO/Copay plan. The two main types of outliers: The Minor Injury and the OMG Catastrophic. The OMG Catastrophic is going to be just terrible in all facets of your life, not just medical bill-wise and you WILL hit your out of pocket limit. With option #3, you are going to end up paying more if this happens. You’ll have $1000 to throw at it, though. The Injury/Accident: You may or may not hit your out of pocket, depending. You may or may not spend the $1000 in your HSA. You will have copays with Option 1 that will add up, but as long as they are OVER your out-of-pocket, they'll be painful, but worth it. But If they're not, they're just painful and you won't have the $1k to throw at them. Anyhoodle, I'd go for Option 3, if only for the HSA. But if you're AT ALL insecure about it, Option 1 will be more comfortable and what you're used to.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm 0

On Help a Reader Choose Her Health Care Plan

@beastlyburden The way a HD/HSA plan works, there would not need to be any negotiating with your doctors office or any other provider. It is still insurance. Any claims are first processed by the insurer and adjusted to the contracted rate they would pay on any plan and THEN sent to the patient for out of pocket payment. So a $200 charge is always going to be adjusted to that $59 rate that is set by negotiated contract, but with a HD/HSA plan, the out of pocket isn't $25, it is $59. Until the OOP limit is reached.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm 0

On How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money: Mary Anne

@keystar My first response to this is was "Um... NO. Logan is a Logan and Mike Dang is a Mike Dang and no way in heck is Logan a Mike, that is the beauty of The Billfold!" But you meant the one who likes Mary Ann and not the one who likes Pret sandwiches, so yes, maybe that Logan IS a Mike!

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm 2

On The Difficulty of Making a Living in the Gig Economy


Posted on March 19, 2014 at 10:41 am 0

On How Much Should the Dentist Cost?

Really feel like each and every one of my dental fears have been confirmed. Awesome, thanks so much, A+, would watch again. I don't understand why it is okay for dental providers of all kinds to be jerks and (apparently) straight up assholes. I get that no one really loves the dentist and that uncomfortable things are done and that no one *likes* being lectured about good behaviors. But you know what, that's exactly how you could describe a visit to the OB-GYN and yet you don't hear about the wide-spread anxiety and hatred of going to see them. My last annual exam was painfully pokey and proddy and I got a lecture about getting close to my upper BMI number and not being as good as I should about pre-natal vitamins, but you know what, I didn't leave the office feeling shamed and violated the way leaving the dentist office feels and the dentist is only all up in my mouth! My doctor didn't present herself as a paragon of virtue and me a lazy slob. She is empathetic and while encouraging and informing me of the best behaviors and practices, recognizing that I am only a human patient and so rather than "lose 20 pounds, okay fattie? Just do it or you be really fat and middle aged one day and THEN see how difficult and expensive treatment is. I do it, obviously and it is easy and you should too." (Which is essentially what the dental providers above are saying.) I get "You've gained a bit since I saw you last. That new gelato place in town is so tempting, isn't it? Try to get in a bit more walking and maybe a few healthy food swaps. We'll keep an eye on it and I can get you some time with a dietician if you'd like or if you're worried about it." And I walk away disappointed in myself, sure, but confident I have an ally and that I'm NOT A BAD TERRIBLE SLOB OF A PERSON FOR NOT HAVING PERFECT HEALTH. Does that doctor really just want to tell me "lose weight and take care of myself and be perfect, it's not that hard!" Maybe. And maybe that feeling gets stronger after seeing the 20th person just like me or worse that day, but because she knows that it is smarter to be a partner in health, rather than an adversary, she would never approach things that way. She knows it is in everyone's best interest to have patients WANT to come back and WANT to participate in their care. Dentists seem to deal in shame and wonder why they're disliked. Treat me as a human patient with human frailties and not just a gross mouth that you don't want to really touch because it isn't already perfect and isn't doing exactly what it is told and maybe you'll get somewhere.

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 11:34 am 2

On How Much Should the Dentist Cost?

@ShellB Wow. I am not a disgusting slob and my anxiety that ALL dental providers think the way you do is what keeps me from regular maintenance and cleanings even though I genetically have terrible teeth. So hey, thanks asshole. Really appreciate knowing this about hygienists.

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 11:00 am 0

On How Are You Spending Thanksgiving, And What Will You Spend?

Thanksgiving proper: Dinner at arelative of my espoused who lives on the northside of Indy (a second cousin twice removed by marriage or something equally esoteric). I've been spared the six years we've been married, but this year, we're stuck. Apparently it involves very cramped quarters, no football and no booze. Which is the exact opposite of the way I'd rather celebrate. I've been pressed into deviled egg and real whipped cream duty. (NB: Deviled eggs on TG? Really? Almost as odd as the lack of alcohol.) (Not really. At all. Lack of potent potables is unheard of and basically a sin.) Cost: $3 in petrol, $3-4 for the heavy cream, $4 for two dozen eggs, $0 for most of the rest of the eggs as I have it on hand but $4 in bacon as the family recipe calls for nearly half a pound crumbled for each dozen. $$$$ for my sober sanity. Secret flask or spiked Starbucks cup may need to be deployed. Black Friday and Beyond: Home to the Chicagoland Area, Costs: Gas - $50ish. Trip Snacks there and back - $10. Friday dinner out, breakfasts and lunches provided by loving grandfather $0. Birthday dinner for Mother on Saturday wherein I will likely pay for the entire party - anywhere from $50 to $300+ depending on what she chooses (pizza and board games at home? Dinner and cocktails for 8 at favorite Italian place?) Gift - $140. Gift for mother on behalf of 13 year old sister - $40 Grand Turkey Day Weekend Total: Let's estimate $600 as to not be terribly surprised when she chooses the very most expensive option.

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm 0

On Figuring Out Laundry

MrConner places a very high value on clean clothes and an empty hamper at least once a week. I do not and never did and endless piles of laundry haunt my memories of childhood. His office/mancave is across from the laundry room and every Sunday, without fail, he will wash all of the clothes. Not so much the sheets or towels or dishrags or other effluvia needing to be laundered, but once a week ALL of the clothes are clean. And so reader, I married him.

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm 1

On I'm Paying $2,600 a Year to Park at Work

And how are you enjoying Indianapolis? I assume we must work at the same place. Seriously, I work on a campus originally DESIGNED for car-commuters, in a city designed almost solely for cars and yet because of scarce parking (or something?)pay over $60/month to park in a garage that isn't even that close to my office. I just did the math and given my length of employment and NOT including any days where I paid a daily rate to park closer/forgot my garage pass, I've paid over $8k in parking fees. Jeebus.

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm 0