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good news and bad news

March 13th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Good news is DH's eyesight is stable. He still has his driver's license. Two years ago did I mention that our optometrist said he didn't pass his driver's test. He agreed to let my DH continue driving and instead let his specialist determine my DH's condition. In April 2 years ago he got tested and passed. He has blank spots in his vision and while he would fail a normal peripheral vision test he is okay enough to drive.

Does this mean he should drive? Well I drive him quite a bit. He can drive to and from the bus station. He can drive a familiar route at night but honestly he's better off not driving at night, not new areas, and nowhere with pedestrians. He hit 2 pedestrians 2 years ago where we used to live. It was another impetus for us moving. We are better off now. Right now we are looking for houses and I realized I need to tell the agent some extra criteria.

Anyway good news besides the fact that his medications are working and his vision loss has appeared to stabilize is great. The really interesting part is 2 years he gave blood. He signed a consent to participate in a clinical trial. After a grant came through the dr ran his blood and identified the mutation on a gene for rhodopsin. This dr had only guesses and they had tested in vitro (in cells) these mutations. My DH proved them correct in their identification. His test results however were done in trial but now we have to see if the insurance company will allow it to be done and covered. Cross your fingers.

Bad news? Well I found out today my cousin has stage 4 colon cancer. It's actually my mom's first cousin and she lives nearby and we've gotten to know each other well. My mom is traveling abroad so I can't tell her right now. I also don't want to call my grandmother or my aunts because I don't want to upset them. My cousin sent me message saying to go ahead and tell them. She isn't up for spreading the word to the family. I am hoping maybe my grandmother will make it up here in the next 6 months to see us once in our new house and see my cousin. She's the daughter of my grandmother's closest sister who passed years ago. My grandmother's family didn't approve of her marriage and her sister was the only one who came to the wedding and stood outside the chapel while my grandmother got married. My aunt helped her sew the gown and always talked to her and wrote letter and years later my cousin visited and stayed with my grandmother and mom. So now what? I am going to make some food and drop it off tomorrow. And wait for my mom to touch base.

Reforming Health Care and Gun Control

October 2nd, 2015 at 04:06 pm

We need massive reform in the country on both health care and gun control. I'm liberal and I don't deny it. But right now my DH and I are experiencing life as "poor" in this country. We are watching our pennies like we never before.

Never before have we been on the type of a high deductible health insurance. Never before have we ever been worried about going to the doctor. Never have we considered the cost of a dr visit. Never before have we wonder what will happen if we have to hit the deductible. Have we been priviledged? Absolutely. DH grew up with socialized healthcare. I grew up with a mom who worked for the state so primo for the US. The idea that we worry about visits for our kids now worries me. The fact we don't have prescription coverage worries me a lot. I've always supported single payer socialized health care and never more than now.

Look the truth is for a healthy family of 4 it's costing us $560/month for basic HDHP premium. That's with a $6500 individual/$13k family deductible. Until now DH and I have had jobs that has always provided health insurance. Great health insurance. In grad school DH had premium coverage no costs as did I. His job was superb, best of any industry but the premiums were skyrocketing as I've mentioned. But we've never been without or lived looking at deductibles. We are now. It's not a pretty feeling. It's not an easy situation to asses. I know we are blessed more than others because we can financially manage, but at the same time I am looking at part-time work solely to get group health insurance again.

What does that say about our health care system? USA is the WORST in health care for 1st world countries. We have cutting edge technologies but for what? Most people can't afford it or go broke trying to pay for it. BK are caused medical bills and I can easily understand how. So people who don't want a single payer system please explain why?

I will lay out I believe health care isn't something people "afford" it should just be something everyone should have. And just moving to a single payer would probably cover the costs of it because our system is so INEFFICIENT and expensive that it costs more than all other single payer systems in other countries. So the argument it'll cost more is moot. Americans spend more on health care for less care than other countries. So why are people against it?

Second if everyone against socialized healthcare doesn't believe in it, then I hope they aren't using medicare or plan to. We have single payer socialized medicine and turns out EVERYONE over 65 is on it, it's called medicare.

Turns out everyone in the military is on TriCARE. If it is so horrible then all these military people should be turned out and given cash and they should buy their own policies. Why don't they? Because it would cost even more than what it costs now. They probably couldn't afford to buy matching health insurance for what the military costs to run Tricare. And don't tell me not. If it wasn't needed and used, then the military would probably give people money to buy health insurance but they don't.

So let's ask the question if health care should be capitalistic then everyone 65 and over and military should BUY their own insurance. All capitalistic health care supporter should put their money where their mouth is and not use Medicare or Tricare. Prove it by giving up the safety net.

And I think gun control needs regulations. I think it goes hand in hand with reforming mental health issues. But other countries don't have so many mass murders that have stricter gun control. Why is that? Is it the health care? Is it the laws? Is it a combination? Can we keep have semi automatic and automatic weapons so easy to come by?

By the way I think the "democratic/liberal" congress people are as much in the pocket as conservative republicans in congress. Neither party has anybody with backbone instead they are too busy pocketing money to do anything. Probably because they are rich enough to afford protection and rich enough to afford private schools. After all Jeb Bush and Donald Trump didn't even give lip about the sorrow, rather "things happen." Yes it happens but does it have to keep happening? Of course call up your bodyguards and private planes while the rest of us go about living.

Medical Insurance and Work arounds

June 12th, 2015 at 08:28 pm

So DH is quitting his job and we will be without employer provided insurance from September to May 2016. I don't have to tell you how nerve wracking it is.

Right now the estimated online cost for our family of 4 is $550/month for a HDHP plan of $6500 pp /$13k family deductible. Mr Money Mustache pays for his family of three $250/month? Apparently he's in a plan pre-ACA and Colorado is a lot more insurance friendly.

This coverage is without prescription, dental, or vision coverage. So what are we thinking?

Well I was thinking of looking for a part-time job that allows me buy for health insurance. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find anything quickly but it's worth trying I think. Another possibility is that without income we may qualify for subsidies. Yes I know terribly unfair but at the same time we are going to be without income, yes by choice but we will be looking both for work and living off savings. Any suggestions for companies to look at would be appreciated.

Another thing is we're doing all our major dr appointments now so we have time to get insurance and drs in place. We are also filling prescriptions 3 months in advance so we are able to have extras for when we don't have insurance.

This is going to be a huge change not having employer provided insurance. Have many people done it? What do you normally pay?

Good News 3 Cheers!

April 23rd, 2015 at 01:58 pm

Lots of good news yesterday. First off my DH still has his driver's license. He has not lost 15% of his peripheral vision but according to the specialist he's got splotches. So when he'll have to give up driving is next to impossible to say. He does this all day testing with the top researchers in the world every 2 years. He's been going now for almost 10 years and they love him. They've been able to see the progression of the disease and determine his rate of loss of eyesight. I don't know what that means for us but for now it means that he can drive but will continue to not drive at night and minimize daytime.

He also mentioned after we move and he gets another job, depending on if he rides public transit or drives he'd like to start leasing cars. He wants the newest technology and ideally would like to eek out driving until the self-driving car is sold. He wants the car his brother just lease a Subaru Legacy with all the safety features. I think this is something we are headed too. I'm just happy he's happy and feeling less stressed with worry.

We had our photos yesterday so our house was photo ready but not show ready. Anyway my broker let another realtor come see the house for his buyer. Apparently they wanted to come in this weekend before we hit MLS to see it and see what they think. This woman is a very serious buyer and has been hunting hard and knows my broker by first name since she's visited every open house this season in my price range my broker has done.

So who knows? I think this is a first positive step. My broker told them she isn't sure we're ready for showings this weekend (I told her no it's giving me anxiety). But come Tuesday she's expecting this woman to come see our place.

So onward home sale!

Health Insurance Follow up

June 23rd, 2014 at 10:27 am

So Nika got me curious and I am trying to figure out our savings rate and time to FI. According to our w2 DH's employer pays $20,348.82 last year for our medical premiums We paid $2526 or 11% of the premiums. I had no idea our benefits were so expensive.

Some food photos. I need to get better at this.

Ribs and Strawberries we picked.

Angel food cake with our picked strawberries

Romaine with feta, strawberries, pecans, bell peppers, and greek dressing.

the rising cost of health care

June 14th, 2014 at 01:30 pm

Do you know how much your health insurance premiums have risen over the years? I was just looking at old pay stubs and I can't believe how much they have gone up. As a couple from 2005-2010 we had seen some large increase 25% in 1 year. I am floored. Because the overall dollar amount isn't large I haven't paid as much attention as I should have. But looking now I'm in shock.

As a couple
2005 $46 per pay period (26)= $1196
2006 $46 = $1196
2007 $32 = $832, they switched providers
2008 $40 = $1040, 25% increase
2009 $42 = $1096 , 5% increase

However in 2010 we had our first child and moved to the family plan in medical health insurance.

2010 $46 Couple (moved to family) $82 = $2132, 9% increase as a couple, so I assume 9% family.
2011 $84 = $2184, 2.5% increase
2012 $96 = $2496, 14.2% increase
2013 $101 = $2626, 5.2% increase
2014 $119 = $3094, 17.8% increase

Wow we've seen some serious increases. Apparently the insurance company raises it one year A LOT and then not by much the next year. In the grand scheme of things $3100 in premiums for our family is not a lot. But we still have to pay $20/visit copays. When everything is said and done we spend around $5k with premium and copays.

Is it worth it? Yes because employer sponsored programs are much better than what you can buy as an individual. But still when I see a 17.8% increase I cringe knowing that our 3% merit raise is really not going as far.

I went online to shop for a family of four with $2k individual/$4k family deductibles; Maximum annual OOP $6350 individual/$12,700 family, with $50 co-pay after deductible is $596.71/month! Ouch. Okay so I guess we'd better keep working or at least wait and see how health insurance works out. I mean we could easily have a higher deductible but it doesn't appear to be an option where we live.

Mr Money Mustache pays for a family of 3 $240/month HDHP. BUT where he lives is substantially cheaper. It really does vary because in the comment section of his post many commentors are unable to get their premiums for individual policies that low. So YMMV in buying your own. I can't believe that ours would be nearly 2x what his is monthly.

Our dental costs $20.90 a pay period = $543.4/year. The question is would it be cheaper for us to self insure? Not really with cleanings for a family of 4 (well 3) 2x a year at $100-150/pop we are looking at a minimum of $600 OOP at a minimum. And this year like last I still am having an implant crown put on. Which by the way the insurance company doesn't want to pay to put on! Arrgh.

Our vision is $6.54 a pay period = $170/year which used to be easily reached with me getting contacts every year (got a year for free with insurance). But I'm not sure now it's still worth it with a check up being $49 elsewhere. But for $170 maybe it's worth the peace of mind.

I am still just floored at how fast health insurance appears to be going up. Way above raises and cost of living inflation. And it's still a lot cheaper than buying our own.