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Archive for August, 2008

Possible alternative to HSA?

August 31st, 2008 at 03:38 am

As I have mentioned in the last month I am not happy with the insurance options that are available to me in NJ. I did set everything up to switch from an HMO to an HSA starting September 1, but my husband got some information in the mail today that may change everything (again).

My husband is currently a FT college student and we just received a pamphlet on the "student health insurance" that is offered through his school. We are able to buy additional coverage for all 3 of us, and it would cost WAY LESS than the HSA, actually saving us about 9 months worth of premiums, and have the same $5,000 deductible. Right there I am sold. There are other perks to going with the student health insurance as well, such as the fact that we would continue to be enrolled in the state FamilyCare program which we would have to drop if we had the HSA. So we would continue to have a "backup insurance" so to speak which makes me feel even better about the student health insurance option.

There are a few questions we have to ask about the student insurance before jumping into anything, but if they answer those adequately it looks like our financial picture will be a lot brighter than I expected in the next year. *whew*

Plus, I will no longer have to worry about my boss not paying the premiums on time, or complaining about how expensive the health insurance is even though the premiums come out of my paycheck!!! That alone will be a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and bring a big smile to my face. Smile

*Keeping my fingers perpetually crossed until I talk to the student insurance people on Tuesday*

Koppur...

August 28th, 2008 at 02:15 am

I saw this job and thought of you. I know it is not what you usually do (editing) but it might be close enough since the benefits sound incredible???

Full time employees are eligible for the following benefits:

* Health/Dental/Vision/Life insurance
* Disability (short and long term) options
* 401(k) Plan with Company match
* Flexible Spending Plan
* Transit/Parking Plan
* Gym membership reimbursement
* Paid vacation time
* Holidays, personal days, sick days
* Stock options

It made me wish I was qualified! Big Grin

They are looking for a copywriter (as well as some other positions). Check it out: http://www.tutor.com/careers/corporate/copywriter

Save $$$ on Prescriptions-easy!

August 24th, 2008 at 01:18 am

I have been so bummed about going to the expensive HSA with the $5k deductible. I still am, but I have found a little relief.

I checked my professional association and found that they offer a Rx Discount card for no additional fee as long as you are a member in good standing (in other words, paid your dues for the year). I also stumbled upon the fact that BJ's Wholesale Club also offers a Rx Discount card for its' members. Go here to read more if you are a member of BJ's club: http://www.pharmafutures.net/bjs/rxdiscountcard.html

Both websites offer a Rx look-up service which tells me how much I should expect to save on the prescriptions our family needs. I just typed in the name of the medication, the number of pills per month and it spit back a real cost with the card.

Now for the really good news. It looks like the BJ's discount card will save us $25/month on my daughter's medication. It's not a fortune, but every bit helps as you all know.

So, moral of the story, check with your professional organizations and other affiliations you may have to see if they offer any "extra perks" with membership. It could really pay off! Smile

$5 Payless Shoes coupon...

August 23rd, 2008 at 03:58 am

in the 9/1/08 People magazine on newsstands now (Ellen & Portia's wedding on the cover).

On page 24 - $5 off any purchase of $5 or more.

Valid 8/22-9/29/08

Cannot be combined with any other coupon or employee discount. Valid at all US Payless ShoeSource locations. Not valid at locations within ShopKo stores. Not valid at payless.com

Perfect timing for back-to-school shoes! Smile

Bye-Bye EF...We'll miss you!

August 18th, 2008 at 03:51 pm

We brought my hubby's car into the dealer today for a complete check. The car is a 1999 Saturn with 159,000 miles on it. My hubby uses it to commute back and forth to the train station and we also use it to haul the canoe when we take that out.

We were expecting a little bit of an expense since the car is older and it is due for updated parts, but it has turned into a much larger expense than we foresaw. New radiator, hoses, water pump, thermostat, rear brakes, head gasket! To the tune of nearly $4,000.

Yes indeed, when it rains it pours, ladies and gentlemen.

We actually contemplated trading it in and buying a new car, but we can't afford a monthly payment and we'd rather not buy used and get stuck with someone elses's headache.

This is really putting a crimp in our debt repayment strategy, and going to make it ten times harder to save for the HSA as well (although we will still put the $200/month we had planned into the HSA). I figure I will pay the $4,000 out of our $5,000 EF, and slowly rebuild that fund. If I cut back to the minimums on all our debts that will save $20/month. I am paid ahead on the Personal Loan (at the left) until May 2009, so I can stop paying that $130/month and apply it elsewhere. That is $150/month I can put into the EF, then any "extra" I make at the PT job will go to the EF also. Hopefully at least $200/month.

No more fun categories in the ol' budget for the next 3-6 months at the least. *sigh* Frown

Would you go without Health insurance?

August 16th, 2008 at 04:43 am

I was talking to my sister the other night, and she could not believe how much I was going to be paying for the new HSA ($600/month premiums but the DDS pays $100/month, so $500/month out of my pocket)...especially after I explained that with an HSA I pay all expenses out of pocket up to the first $5,000.

My husband, daughter and I are very healthy so we are basically paying for nothing. Seriously. I doubt very much we will come close to spending anywhere near $5,000 in the next year. My DD goes to the doc twice a year for check-ups, and my DH and I go maybe once or twice max. My DD does take prescription medicine, so I called the pharmacy and that will cost approx $40/month without a conventional prescription plan. If all of those trends hold we will probably spend under $2,000 over the next 12 months.

So, my sister says, why don't you just drop insurance altogether and save the $500/month in a savings account in case you get sick! If something catastrophic happens (G-d forbid) you can always get charity care. As a person who loves to save money it was like hearing the siren song calling me to throw myself on the rocky coast. For about a minute and a half I really considered it. And, if it were just my husband and I we would probably do just that, but with a child it seems too irresponsible.

What do you all think? Would you or have you gone without health insurance?

Health Insurance, the bane of my existence!

August 11th, 2008 at 02:18 am

I am not going to rehash all the trouble I have had the past 9 months with health insurance and my job. If you need a sleep aid feel free to browse my previous posts on the subject. However, I will say that all of this !@#$ with medical insurance is getting really old.

My boss calls me on July 30 (my day off) and tells me that as of July 1 my insurance premiums are going up $300 more each month (to $1,100/month) and asking what I want to do. Seems she has not paid said premiums for July yet even though it is July 30. Nice. Well gee willikers, boss I guess I gotta pay it for July and August at the very least since you are giving me so very much notice to research other options. *No sarcasm here*

I am seriously fit to be tied. Every single time I come up with a little extra money to put toward debt freedom I am thwarted. Absolutely no exaggeration. It is beyond ridiculous at this point.

Anyway, I have talked to an insurance broker and have gotten quotes. The only option that is less expensive is an HMO HSA for $600/month. It will cover only in-network doctors/hospitals with no out-of-network coverage. The family deductible is $5,000 with a max out-of-pocket of $10,000/year. Guess what my $5,000 Emergency Fund is going to be called come September 1st?! *sigh*

I am tired of barely treading water. Someone needs to sue the pants off all the insurance companies so we can get back all those "profits" we pay them only to have them deny coverage of every little thing. *GGRRRRR*

Okay, rant off. Anyone with insight into HSA's please feel free to opine. Thanks!

80% off at Restaurant.com thru 8/10/08

August 9th, 2008 at 04:44 pm

In honor of 08/08/08, Restaurant.com is running this special.

$25 gift certificates for $2...Sale expires Aug 10 at 11:59pm -
Enter Discount Code: FIRST At Checkout and Hit "APPLY"

Hope this is helpful to someone. Unfortunately, there are no restaurants near me that use this site. Frown

People I would NEVER allow near my child!

August 8th, 2008 at 03:53 am

Okay, I admit I laughed out loud after reading this story on Yahoo! News today.
**********

MARATHON, Fla. - Authorities say a grandmother was arrested for driving around the parking lot of a Marathon grocery store with her 3-year-old child sitting on the roof of the car.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies were called to the Publix store Tuesday and arrested a 54-year-old woman after she was driving around with her three-year-old granddaughter on the roof of her car.

The grandmother was released from jail 15 hours later.

The woman said Thursday she would never let anything hurt her granddaughter. She says she was driving at "snail-speed" and holding the child's leg.

Authorities say the woman told police she was giving the child some air and letting her have fun. !?!?!

She faces charges of child abuse. The child is back with her mother.