for just a moment, my eyes saw "Jcrew Credit Card" but my brain saw "Screw Credit Cards" :-) I currently have about $14k in CC debt, *but* I'm on track to pay it all back before year's end, *and* most of that was "convenience checks" I used to max out my 2011 contributions to my IRA and Self-401k accounts
@Pete: Happy to help! and please, call me Ben
from the fine folks at TVTropes: "A woobie ... is that character you want to give a big hug, wrap in a blanket and feed soup to when he or she suffers so very beautifully." when I read Logan's posts, more & more I think "Logan's basically the Woobie of personal finance" :-) keep on keeping on, there
Great post! Some questions: 1) Rent & food, fine, but what about health insurance? Can one count on the school (or other employer) to provide coverage, or do most Asian nations have universal health care? 2) Transpo with one's new country: Is there enough public transport to make do, or do you find yourself getting cabs alot? 3) Learning the local language: I guess that's where hitting the bars every day comes in? or do you pick up enough from your students to get by?
(again, I'm not shilling for Geico, Blue Cross or any other provider. just use those as shorthand for "car insurance co." or "health insurance co.")
Now Logan also mentioned her plan has a $30 copay, which isn't bad. You can think of copays (short for copayments) as your "price of admission" to see a health professional one time: regular doctor, specialist (e.g., ob-gyn), chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist (if that's covered under your plan; it pays to ask about those details). Keep in mind, the full-ticket price of these visits (what someone with no insurance at all would pay) is usually much more, say $100 per visit, maybe $200 or more. But that's part of the benefit of having insurance, even a crappy policy: The doctor's office still quotes a charge of $200, but Blue Cross chisels that down to $120, then they pay $90 and you pay $30 via the copay. Simple, right? :-)
(contd) In the original post, Logan said she has a $5000 deductible, which is fairly high even for an individual plan. Under group plans, like you get from your employer or, say, the Freelancers Union, your deductible would likely be between $500 and $2,000. (Some plans even have zero-dollar deductibles, which, yay.) One way that the health insurance / car insurance analogy differs is how often you have to pay your deductible. With auto insurance, you pay your deductible every time something happens to your car. With health plans, the amount resets annually, usually by calendar year. Deliver your baby in December? You're probably going to reach your deductible, if you had not already reached it for that year. Slip and break your foot the following January? Sorry about that, but new year = new deductible. And the "Out Of Pocket Maximum" amounts that @NoReally mentioned usually work the same way.
@Pete Quinn: Your health plan's deductible kinda works like the deductible on your auto insurance: It's money you have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurer will start "kicking in" by helping to pay for covered treatment. So with car insurance you may have a $500 deductible, and that means it wouldn't be worthwhile to call up Geico if you scratch your paint job pulling out of a parking garage... same thing with your health plan. It's in place to make sure that you're not going to contact Blue Cross over every teeny little thing, you're gonna hold off until you have a serious medical issue. (contd)
Hey folks, new poster here, but I've worked a few years in the benefits / insurance field. (Don't worry, I'm not here to sell anything to anybody. pinkie swear)