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Woo Hoo! We Officially Have Health Insurance

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As of the stroke of midnight, we officially have health insurance. I still have to pay the first bill, but our plan started today. After 5 years without, it is nice to have that piece of mind. What a great way to start the weekend πŸ™‚


Very Nice News Was Received in the Mail Today

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When we got home from shopping, my son got the mail from the mailbox and I saw the familiar logo of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan on a white envelope. That’s who we are getting our health insurance from.

My first thought was “Oh no” because they really processed our application quickly. They said it would take 4 to 6 weeks and it hasn’t been that long yet. It’s only been about two weeks since I mailed in the application.

Since Blue Cross/Blue Shield doesn’t really reject people, I wasn’t worried about it being a decline letter. I knew it was a bill. I opened the bill when we got in the house and my eyes scanned it so fast looking for the “Due Date.”

January 7, 2007

YES! I was so happy that I almost did a little dance. They were not utilizing auto pay for the first payment and I have until the new year to pay it! That is excellent news because we have a few more paychecks before the due date to have the money ready for it and we will not be as squeezed for cash.

While I tried not to worry about it too much, it was still a relief to now know when that bill was due. Sometimes, the unknown really bothers me since I am very much a planner type of person.

There was a little bit of bad news with the bill, though. The cost of the insurance per month was higher than what ehealthinsurance.com quoted me. Instead of around $330/month it is a little over $350/month. With looking at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s website…the price did go up since earlier this month. After my husband and I turn 30 early next year, we are looking at $400/month to cover the both of us.

I’m not going to focus on the negative which is the escalating costs of healthcare. I am going to focus on the positive that we will be able to pay this bill and when the time comes we will be able to pay future bills. As of December 1st, we now have health insurance after being without it since 2001. We now will have some peace of mind knowing that we will not be destroyed financially if something health-related should happen to one of us.

Next step is to finalize life insurance and look into disability insurance. Which, by the way, makingourway did a nice post on disability insurance not too long ago if you are interested.


Book Review: “Health Care on Less Than You Think” by Fred Brock

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I was contacted by a public relations firm to give a review on Health Care on Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Getting Affordable Coverage (amazon referral link) by Fred Brock. I received a copy of the book for free, but I am not receiving monetary compensation for this review. What I have to say about this book is my honest opinion.

With that said, here’s my thoughts…

The beginning of Health Care on Less Than You Think starts off with some sobering stories of individuals that have had their financial life rocked by medical costs. Even more surprising is the number of those people that HAD health insurance. Obtaining health insurance has been a priority of mine, but I have been dragging my feet with doing it. After reading what some of those people have paid for medical procedures – it really sunk in that one problem could easily rack up over $5,000 in medical bills. Needless to say, my application is in process as I announced yesterday.

Reading further, Mr. Brock details exactly how much extra an uninsured person has to pay for the same services that an insured person receives. I knew that happened, and feel that it is VERY unfair to charge those without health insurance a different price. I just didn’t know how much more. Can you believe that an uninsured person would have to pay a bill of $30,000 when an insured person (and their insurance company) would be paying $7,000?

Mr. Brock gives great advice on how to try to save money if you are uninsured, such as negotiating and auditing your medical care bills. He also explains those big words you find associated with health insurance policies. Finally, I really understand how coinsurance, deductible and out of pocket maximums work!

I’ve also finally learned about Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s). An entire chapter is decidated to helping the reader understand how they work and how they can be very advantageous or disadvantageous. After reading that chapter, I quickly looked up available HSA plans on ehealthinsurance.com. Unfortunately, none of them covered pregnancy and all of them required medical records. At this time, I feel confident saying that a HSA plan is not for us.

Overall, this book made me feel like a confident shopper when it came to finally choosing a plan for our family. I also feel more confident knowing some things that I can do to help save money when it comes to health care and prescription drugs. Knowing what I know now, I feel that Health Care on Less Than You Think (amazon referral link) will end up saving us money in the future.

Just a note, some things I did already know about – such as asking for an itemized hospital bill and checking for any mistakes. There will probaby be some things you may have heard about in this book as well. But, if you are fairly new to how health insurance works and want to learn more, this is an easy-to-read and understand book. I particulary enjoyed the real-life examples that Mr. Brock detailed throughout the book.

To conclude, this book was very helpful to me since our health care was a big decision I was facing. I am glad I was given the opportunity to read it.


Health Insurance, Here We Come!

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Yesterday, I spent a great deal of time comparing individual health insurance plans. A great place to find plans that are available in your state is ehealthinsurance.com. I was able to see many different policies, and then choose some to compare side by side.

I have looked at that site many times before, but I was never very confident with choosing a single plan. There’s the matter of coinsurance, deductibles, lifetime maximums….it was very overwhelming. Since we do not have employer sponsored health insurance, we have the ability to pick a plan from many different companies. That can be overwhelming as well.

There’s a book that really helped me gain some confidence with my decision, and I’ll have a review for that probably tomorrow. But I just couldn’t wait to share the news with everyone that a decision has been made and the first application has been submitted (especially since there are some out there who have been waiting for us to get health insurance ;)).

We decided to go with the only plan available that had maternity benefits. There may or may not be an addition to our family in the future – but we want to be prepared and covered in the event that we decide to add to our family. The insurance is also a very trusted company in our family – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Back in the day, we had an employer-sponsored Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan policy and we never had a problem with them.

The plan we are applying for has no dedictible and it has 30% coinsurance. What that means is that we will have to pay 30% of all services up to our out-of-pocket yearly maximum, which is $2,500 for an individual / $5,000 for the family. After hearing a few stories of what some relatively simple procedures can cost – having to pay up to $5,000 isn’t that bad.

An individual plan does come with a hefty price. Until we receive the official application in the mail to sign and remit with 2-month’s payment (the next step), we will not know the exact price. Right now, we just did a pre-application. Since health insurance policy prices change often, who knows exactly what it will be. The price quoted by ehealthinsurance.com was around $330/month. That will run about $4,000/year.

Another reason we decided to go with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is that they do not require medical records and they have an unlimited lifetime benefit.

For us, at this point in our lives, I feel confident that this policy is the best one for our family. I will try to review our policy at least yearly and see if any other policies arise that would be better suited for us. Perhaps we can go with a cheaper policy.


October Net Worth Update $-41,318 (up 3.46%)

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Our net worth increased for October, so I am very pleased. I just don’t want to see it going down just yet πŸ˜‰

To see the complete breakdown, you can see my NetWorthIQ profile here.

October was the first month without a car payment, and that helped with the overall picture for October. Unfortunately, I will not be able to snowball that payment into the rest of our debt. We will be using that $250/month to go towards obtaining health insurance for me and my family.

I am currently reading Health Care on Less Than You Think (amazon referral link) by Fred Brock and I will have a review shortly on the book. The beginning chapters are sobering, giving examples of individuals that have been devistated financially by medical problems. I know one medical problem can easily undo all of the progress we’ve made reducing debt, and reading those stories really hit home.

That will be my weekend – finishing reading that book and figuring out what health insurance company to go with. Stay tuned to hear more about the book or how I am going about finding decent health insurance.


Credit Card Rates Lowered…Auto Insurance Lowered…This Reader is on a Roll!

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I am very fortunate with this blog. I had hoped it would keep me in line and keep me focused with paying off my debt. And it has done so more than I ever thought.

One thing that helps keep me going are the great emails I have received from others sharing their stories. I see people making a difference in their financial life, and I’m not sure how else to say it…it’s just awesome.

Here’s two emails I received from one reader (and just so everyone knows, I do not share emails on here unless you give me permission to do so).

“I wanted to share with you the good news that I got two of my higher interest rates reduced by calling the company. One card I have had since 1992 and after talking to a customer service rep. he suggested in switching my card to a reward type card. I did have to write to Discover which took a little more time.”

That right there is great news! It never hurts to try to contact your credit cards to see if they will lower the rates. And in this case – it worked! πŸ™‚

A few days later I received this email…

“Again, I have good news to share. In June, in an attempt to have our auto insurance reviewed to reduce the rates, I called my agent. Neither my husband or I have had any tickets and I haven’t had an auto claim in 9 years. Well, my agent said that she would check into it; review my credit etc and if anything could be done she would let me know. I didn’t hear from her before my policy renewed in July. I received a call on my home recorder to call my agent on Tuesday. When I returned the call on Wednesday I was told that my policy is being rewritten which will save me $200 every six months; $400 annual. I had actually given up and thought I’d try again next year. This news made my day.”

I haven’t called my insurance company in quite a while. After hearing this, I’m tempted to give them a call and just ask. It doesn’t hurt to try, and this reader is now saving $400/year by just giving it a shot! That’s A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! Way to go!!!! πŸ™‚

Thank you everyone for your emails and for sharing things with me πŸ™‚


If You Need Health Insurance, Live in Michigan and are 19-30…READ THIS

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I don’t know if this is a new program or I was just blind the previous times I have been looking at health insurance.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has a plan called Young Adult Blue. For less than $50/month you can have health insurance so “an illness or injury doesn’t result in catastrophic medical bills” (quoted from their site).

Looking back, we haven’t had medical problems so I could say that we saved money by not obtaining health insurance. Sure, I can say that in hindsight. But right now I know if something happened, all of the work we’ve been doing with debt reduction would be gone. We’d have to probably pay hospital bills with our credit card and it would be horrible.

You are kicked out of this plan when you are 31 years of age. So, technically my husband or I could be on this plan for a little over a year. So we may have another option with this plan.

I don’t know about everyone else, but shopping for health insurance makes my head spin.