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Bad Things Come in 3’s

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That’s the saying, right? Bad things come in 3’s. So apparently the God of the “bad things” has trouble counting because I’m pretty sure we’re on bad thing #130903480 in the past couple months. Sure, it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but some more crap has gone down.

First, on Monday while I was driving my front left tire blew out. I’ve been a passenger in a car when a tire has blown out before but this was my first time driving when one occurred and it was scary! Luckily nothing too crazy (I was going about 45 on a regular street, not on the highway), but it swung me into the center median pretty hard before I regained control of the car and was able to safely navigate to the side of the road. I’m so, so, so glad I just hit the median and not another car! Yikes!

Four new tires + an alignment later (oh yeah, plus it needed new brakes too), I was coughing up $1100 for car maintenance. All relatively necessary. The car (5 years old) has never had new tires so we knew we’d be needing some in the coming months but didn’t realize the day would come so suddenly. The tires weren’t completely bald or anything, so the blow out was a huge surprise. I guess the thing to be grateful for there is that the blowout occurred while only I was in the car (no kids in the car), in our own town (not on the road somewhere between Tucson and Austin), and no one was hurt. The alignment was necessary because its good to do when you get new tires plus I had really whacked the sh*t out of the front blown tire when I rammed the curb. Not sure if that can mess up the alignment, but I’m sure its not good. Alignments are relatively inexpensive anyway. The only thing I think we could have gotten cheaper were the brakes. Husband knows how to do brakes and I would have liked to have had him do them, but they were all rusted and corroded (so weird because the car is well maintained and we rarely have rain in Tucson?? but we bought it used so the rust could have been from before we owned it), and hubs said to just have them replaced since he’s been so busy with work and wasn’t sure when he’d have a chance to do them before our Texas trip.

Oh yeah, and remember how we used up our full vehicle maintenance savings fund last month when husband’s car needed maintenance? Yeah, so we’ve got nothing saved for it.

Then the second thing occurred this morning. Husband always wakes up before me (he’s usually out the door by 7am, and I only wake up at 6:30-6:45ish). Today, though, when he woke up he went to the bathroom and came back out, gently shaking me awake. I open my eyes and see…..a swollen cheek.

I’ve seen this before. This is the same mother-freaking swollen cheek I saw last time husband had a bad tooth that required a root canal. Correction. This is the same swollen cheek he had the time before last time. Last time was just this past July (remember??), and his mouth never swelled up that time.

Seriously, world? SERIOUSLY?!!?!?!!?!

He says it came out of nowhere; that it hadn’t been hurting or anything. But he’s now in serious pain and the situation is going to require immediate attention (side note for long-term readers: yes, it’s not really “out of nowhere” because we knew he had a few teeth that really needed root canals and we’ve just basically been putting them off, trying to save up money and pay down some debt first).

So this morning he had his helper meet at our house so the helper could take the truck and get started working. Husband went to the dentist and had some preliminary stuff done (he did get a prescription for some antibiotics, too, but apparently the infection wasn’t bad enough to preclude some of the initial root canal stuff – like taking a mold of the tooth or whatever happens? I’ve never had a root canal so I don’t know). But here’s where I get really pissed. I’ve had a couple people (real life friends & readers) comment on how awesome these dental discount plans are. I’m familiar with these plans and, back in July when husband had his last root canal, I had suggested he buy one of these plans.  Husband said that the office showed him their rates with the plan, but they were able to match the plan’s price without having to actually purchase the plan. If you’ll recall, back in July we paid $1600 for the root canal + crown.

Welllllll…. I was b*tching about this to a friend today on the phone and, again, she brings up the dental discount plan. She urges me to check it out myself, practically insisting on it, even though I tell her that husband already saw all the rates while at the dentist’s office. I get off the phone and do a little internet research and – lo and behold – guess what guys! The dental discount plan could have saved us nearly $600! Yes. Root canal + crown for just under $1,000. We paid $1600 (and that’s the same quote we got for the current root canal, too). WTF!?

So now I’m conflicted. We already owe the dental office from their work today (to the tune of $800), but now what? Try to find an in-network dentist to do the crown at the discount rate (of about $500), or just finish up with the dentist we’ve started with? Husband is in immediate pain and has already had the process started at this current place so he just wants to finish there. But I feel like they’re basically swindling us out of money! It’s our fault because we should have researched and learned that different offices have different rates (husband & I both assumed the rates he was shown for the “dental discount plan” would be comparable at all Tucson dentists), but it just makes me angry! We’re basically hemorrhaging money around here!

I feel like Murphy  (of Murphy’s law) is testing us. How dedicated are we to this whole get-out-of-debt thing?

Guess what, Mr. Murphy! Pretty f-ing dedicated. Why don’t you just pack up your bags and take a hike?!

In the meantime, we’ve spent $1900 and counting (that’s $1100 on the car + $800 on the tooth, and between another $500-800 to go). Thankfully, we do have some savings in our dental insurance savings fund, but not nearly enough to cover the full procedure (we have about $500). So, I’m breaking my living-on-last-month’s income rule. I’m raiding our bank account to cover these costs so I don’t have to dip into additional Emergency Funds to cover the deficit.

December looks like it’s turning out to be quite profitable for husband’s business so I think we’ll be okay. Meaning, I think that even after paying these expenses we’ll still have enough to “live on last month’s income” for January (so we won’t have to start over on that). Essentially, January would have seen a great debt payment. Instead, it will get an average-sized debt payment and a lot of what would have been surplus will be going to pay car maintenance and dental procedures. Big bummer. But at least no new debt is incurred and we’re still making progress on our existing debt.

This also impacts how I’ll be budgeting in 2015. I still need to find the time to go over everything and really analyze our spending, but now I’ll be able to know a precise number to save for dental expenses or car maintenance, etc., instead of just randomly selecting a number out of thin air to save (which, as it turns out, has not been enough). So, live and learn.

And…no more bad things. We’re capped out on bad things right now.


Keeping my (cheap) health insurance!!!

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So excited with some information I learned!!!

It was several months ago when I mentioned that I realized I was probably going to have to get a new insurance in 2015. This sucks (bad) because we currently pay $350/month to insure our family of 4. It’s not the best insurance in the world (very limited vision coverage and no dental), but when I was pricing comparable coverages for our family the quotes on other insurances were closer to the $1,000+ range! Whoa! That’s a huge difference!!!

Why the increase??

Our current plan was an older plan that existed pre-Affordable Care Act and is not compliant with today’s mandated standards (specifically, it does not provide any prenatal coverage). I’m not planning a pregnancy so this makes our insurance cheap and its a win-win since we’re not paying for coverage we won’t need. Although we were allowed to keep our plan through the end of 2014, we knew it would expire on December 31, 2014 and force us to find a new plan for 2015. Womp, womp!

But(!) some of you had mentioned that our plan may have been grandfathered in for another year. I (finally) looked into it further and discovered that our current plan will be good for one more year (until end of 2015….though some plans have been grandfathered in until 2017)! What a blessing that we won’t have to budget an additional $650/month toward insurance starting in January! It’s such a relief! Whew! (Side note:  with any luck, I’ll have landed a full time job complete with benefits like health insurance and 401k matching before the end of 2015 when our current insurance is set to expire)

If you haven’t yet, I definitely recommend anyone whose wondering or curious to look into whether they can renew their old insurance for another year, too. I know there are several specific rules and they vary from state to state so its best to call your own insurance company to figure out what works best for you.

How much does health care cost you per month? We pay the $350/month insurance premium, but we were still paying hospitals/doctors $150 monthly for bills incurred from my husband’s health scare back at the end of 2013, so together we were paying $500/month for health care. BUT, we just paid off a $75/month bill last month so now we’re down to $425/month. More than I like, but not too shabby compared to what it could have been!


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