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Thoughts on insurance

April 23rd, 2024 at 04:40 am

I realized being so busy I haven't really written about stuff but I might as well put down some thoughts here.  I've posted a lot since December 2006.  18 years older and 2 kids later.  Financially?  Probably better than I ever dreamed.   In some ways I'm still very liberal and others i find myself becoming more conservative.

But there are still things that pop up at us.  So where we live in WA state they started this long term care insurance tax for working people.  0.58% unless you got your own coverage and it's a load of crock.  Basically the racket is a money grab because you have to live in WA when you retire to get the $37k in LT coverage reimbursement. You had to have worked for 10 years minimum.  So if you leave or stop working early that's it.  I think if you made people buy coverage and waive the tax it would be more fair.

That being said when it went into effect in 2022, we had to buy our policies in 2021.  So we bought a cheap normal LT care policy for $37k as a tax avoidance.  Well the premium was $200/year for DH.  It's now $500/year for what?  Getting older.  It sucks and covers nothing so I decided to look into getting a whole life policy with LT care rider as an alternative. In case the state starts checking.

What did I learn?  I learned my DH is uninsurable.  He had the physical, his medical records and at 46 years old they were like "no".  So we couldn't buy the stupid expensive coverage.  We do have term life insurance from when the kids were young.  But like our $37k LT Care plan back then he didn't need a medical exam for a 31 year old guy.  Nope we bought $4m in term for $1500/year and they were lik rubber stamp yes.

Turns out I had no idea this would happen.  But it did.  For anyone waiting or thinking they don't need it, I would highly suggest getting it while you are young and before they really look at your health.  He's in excellent top physical shape.  Had his accident 1 year ago, but been cleared from the concussion and other physical problems.  He's thin, low blood pressure, cholestoral perfect, but because of a pre-existing condition he's uninsurable now.

That's the breaks.  For any young people PSA buy the insurance you want or need before 35 I would say.

may was a bit crazy

June 1st, 2023 at 05:28 am

So I haven't posted in two months I realized looking. I also haven't been online much.  April was busy and I ended the month visiting my parents for the first weekend of May.  I got back on the 8th and then everything in the month went off the rails.

My DH got into a scooter accident which they called a motorcycle accident.  I was calling him around 6 pm one night to confirm he was picking up our second child.  Some random person answered (note if you keep calling like 6 times in a row anyone holding the phone can swipe and answer), and said "your husband was in an accident". I was like WTF.  Where are you? I immediately went to my location finder and couldn't see his dot.  But he was about a mile from home and when I got there he was on a stretcher, on a board, with a neck brace, unconscious being loaded into the ambulance.  Yes the cops let you through when you say that's your husband.

It took a long time in the ER with everything and he had a lot of injuries.  The EMTs, Dr, Cops, all told me he was seriously lucky to be wearing a helmet it saved his life.  He had a concussion, orbital bone fracture, cut on his head, broken ribs, internal bleeding (which did end up stopping without surgery fortunately), and tons of scrapes, cuts, and scratches.  Luckily he was wearing jeans and jacket although everything was torn up, cut off, and he had gone over the scooter and off and was unconscious when a random person found him and called 911.  No there were no cameras and the cops do think it was a hit and run.

He and I were very fortunate and thankful of everything.   He's recovering slowly and things have been crazy caring fo him, the kids, the dog.  I am very lucky my BIL flew in the next day to help me with the kids for the weekend and I had a lot of friend carpooling the kids.  

Though he's supposed to be not working my DH of course is already back at work.  He can't help himself. The Dr said to take off at least three weeks and it's been only 3 weeks.  Did he go back part time?  Nope.  I mean of course the neurologist said I guess asking you to work 20-25 hours is ridiculous when my DH admitted to working 80-90 hours on average before.

Personally I had a lot of my own work slide and just trying to be on top of paying bills and shopping and cooking and driving and everything has gotten away from me.  We ate out and had delivery for about 2 weeks. I returned the scooter within days of the accident i was so pissed.  My DH holds this against me but I couldn't help myself.

Honestly I'm just hoping to right my ship and get back on track with everything.  I cancelled our trip this summer to WDW.  Yeah he'll be healed but really he shouldn't be going on rides with a concussion healing still.  No idea how long it'll take.  He's been exahusted and sleeps immediately after dinner.  And I can tell it's taking a lot out of him to do anything.  

So here's hoping June is better. I am barely hanging on to remembering everything for the kids, him, and me.  I also got our dog neutered two weeks ago as well.  Usually it'd be harder but since our dog needed to be crated and not walked his usual 5 miles it's been really helpful to give me extra time.

And I finally got on with insurance and figured out we should be paying a max OOP of $1500.  Well guess this year we are really using our insurance.  We also turns out were fortunate we didn't get on a HDHP.

SVB explained from a nobody

March 19th, 2023 at 10:52 pm

So yes it personally did affect our life and we got to see SVB up close and very personal.

We were very fortunate to get paid on Wednesday March 8th.  My DH's payroll is through rippling and they took the money out March 7th to pay his company.  So they had around $10m at SVB.  They also fortunately had a super smart accountant who put the rest of their money into treasuries.   So they used to be chase private clients but they found it hard when starting out because Chase saw a $6M deposit and held it for 90 days.  So how were they supposed to be paying payroll, bills, rent, etc when money given to them by VC wasn't liquid and the "bank" didn't want to release the funds?  It wasn't happening.  So a VC partner said "hey got to SVB, they understand start ups. They understand how money in millions comes in, they'll let run your start up and use your money."

So they moved a portion of their money to SVB and the rest the accountant suggested treasuries.  $10m was 25% of their money and about 8-12 months of burn.  That seemed very reasonable and it seemed secure.  I mean it was  in a savings/checking account earning pretty much NOTHING.  The CEO wasn't about to risk his company and he thought he was nervous about losing money and not making payroll. So solid "checking/savings" account and investment in "treasuries separate".  Good plan.

But then the week of March 6th the CEO, and yes this is first hand, my DH called me and we were away for the March 10th weekend and the CEO called us and as was trying to figure out how to access his treasury securities just in case.  He was told by the same VC investor (and probably others), that SVB was in precarious shape and he should get his money out.  He tried.  He put in 4 separate wire transfers trying to get his money out.  He got out around $2.5M of the $10M and justifiably was freaking out.

The $2.5M he told us was around 2-3 months of burn so we were fine.  The company could meet obligations and have time to cash in their treasuries and still be okay.  Yes they had lost about $7-8 million dollars but it wasn't the end of the world.  I mean it sucked royally that they had "lost" their investment through no fault of their own except believing money in a bank checking/savings account should be safe.  

So yeah I'm pissed.  I do think that the federal government should FORCE the SVB excecutives to give back their bonuses and salaries for 5 years and attempt to cover ALL depositors their deposits.  The company my DH started with 7 other guys in 2021.  I type on here, we're normal people.  We aren't multi-millionaires playing.  He sunk in his time and took a huge risk, and we truly believed that his company's money was safe and they thought they were doing the "right' thing.  They are growing the business to 60 people now in 2 years.  Isn't that what it's supposed to be be?  A small business growth?  That they will likely be revenue positive soon and have been growing like crazy.

They did everything right but you don't want to "bail out" these depositor who just thought that putting money in a checking/savings account would be safe?  Then why even put money in banks?  How do you want small businesses to run?  How do you expect people to start companies and be innovative without some sort of belief that the BANKS are inherently safe?

Where do you want them to put their $10m?  Where?  How should they have it to pay my husband and his employees?  How should they keep it liquid?  Does this mean that small businesses shouldn't be allowed to start or grow?  What if it were $1m and that covered the business for 1 year burn?  It should be in 4 banks to cover it by FDIC?

Or should there be some sort of faith/justification that putting it in a bank means it's safe?  What about people?  Guess this means if you have more than $250k personally you should not be leaving it anywhere near a bank.

That's the problem SVB is going to teach us.  That banks aren't to be trusted.  Well maybe really big banks only.  It's just a difficult thing to  wrap your head around.  That banks suck.  That putting your money into a bank and not "investing" it but seriously just putting it into a checking/savings account = risk seems nuts.  But is this the new norm?

Dental Insurance Update

March 3rd, 2022 at 10:00 pm

So My dental bill as you know was like $4k. I paid $500 on a credit card because as I was walking out they said you need to pay $500.  I was like well shouldn't we wait for the bill?  They said no.   They said they would refund me if I overpaid but it would take months to sort it out so they wanted a deposit.  I have no idea if this normal but what choice do I really have right?

So now I saw that for one of the days (I went 2 days for the root canal) my responsibility is $86.05.  I'm not sure what the other portion is but I'm wondering will I see my money?  Do I call and say I saw that half of the bill settled?  Do I keep waiting until I see the other half of the bill settled?  Why is the later day settled but not the first day?  

EOB is

Billed $1532

Negotiated $671.51

Paid $774.44

responsibility $86.05

Um okay.  So now what?

As a side note my younger child got braces and I paid $3k this time OOP because she only needs the top braces 1st round.  My older child had upper, lower, and frontal headgear (not normal) and I paid $6k.  I don't know if this is the norm but seriously no I shopped around to 3 people and all were the same price.  Even better is the lack of orthodontia coverage.

Anyway I kept the headgear just in case that tiny piece of equipment was $1500 alone.  They told me to keep it and maybe I could reuse it or my DK might need it.  What can you do?

Last year our insurance paid out $25239 for March to December.  Our portion?  $1081.95.  Not bad.  Our premium for the March to December was $2581.40 for medical and $244.90 for dental.  I don't know what the megacorp paid for the first two months except they paid $5041 DD box 12.  So I don't recall what we paid.

Tomorrow an update on my car insurance and accident.  

10 years in

December 13th, 2019 at 08:19 pm

So 10 years ago DH and I bought our first life insurance when we had our first child. I bought a 25 year term for both of us. $500k for me and $2m for DH. Our premiums? $243/year for $500k for me. I was 30 and DH was 32. His was $1098/year. After 10 years of payments I have paid $2430 and $10,980 for peace of mind. It sort of bites to think I have spent that much but what if something happened? Or worse? What if something happens in the next 15 years?

As it stands I don't have more on myself but I have another super cheap $2m on DH through work. It's so cheap that we buy it. Might as well. Extra insurance. I have a large mortgage now and I still am not working full time.

But seeing these numbers makes me wonder if I should consider cancelling it? For sure I'll be happy when it's done. It sort of coincides with my DK2 finishing theoretically college if she finishes in 4 years. We'll be retiring so it should be great timing. But at that time we'll have paid around $25k for DH and $5k for me.

Should we cancel it?

Switch auto/home/umbrella insurance

September 25th, 2018 at 10:03 pm

Totally my fault because of scraping of my car this June 2018. It ended up costing $7000 to repair so I submitted a claim to my insurance company. It was an at fault accident even without anyone else involved. But my renewal rate was $1800 for 6 months. YIKES. So I shopped around and switched from progressive to Safeco. We managed to renew for $2225 for 12 months, seems to me like a great deal. Our home policy was $1000 for 12 months and $247 for Umbrella insurance for the year. I'm tempted to make this the last year for umbrella insurance. I don't think we need it anymore since we don't rent, don't live with others, and are more secure. But I guess it's sort of like term life insurance though you don't need it it's nice to have.

That being said in May 2019 I'll switch again back to Ameriprise. I just really like their customer service and I haven't really found the same qualify of service at any of the other insurance companies we've had. Last year we had commerce and they were awful. Progressive was better but still not great. I'm not sure how safeco will be but I'm on them for 9 months.

Ameriprise through costco is the cheapest I've found and the best customer service. We previously had them for 10 years and they are phenomenal. They are very responsive, very helpful, and super great at paying out claims. If anyone has not shopped through costco and checked out ameriprise I certainly would give them a shot.

huge variance in health insurance

October 18th, 2017 at 03:20 am

Have you noticed the large variance of health insurance people have in the US? That even if you work and have employer provided health insurance there is a huge variability for what different companies pay and offer?

I mean there is huge variability in how much you pay of the premium. There is variability in whether you have a HDHP or more traditional HMO/PPO. There is more variability in your deductible. Also even within insurance companies depending on what you buy you have different levels of providers. Meaning some plans have more providers than others. It's crazy extent that that is so much variability that until you are in the plan you really can't evaluate how good it is.

Until this job DH's medical insurance was premium. We knew that from talking with friends. Now we are definitely still good but it's not cadillac good. It's still probably covered by the company 90% and 10% us. But the coverage is not as extensive we have Aetna versus BCBS for starters. And less providers take Aetna. But we can't really evaluate much more except it seems like there are higher deductibles but we never seem to have to pay for the deductible.

Would it be worth it to decouple insurance from employment? I think it would be very fair. I'm not sure we would come out ahead considering what it would cost us to insure ourselves. However I know we would likely self-insure and buy a cheap catastrophic plan and pocked the cash from the company. Of course that's assuming the company even gave us the cash from what they are saving for paying for health insurance.

I really question if companies really would give their workers the money from not having health insurance? Do you think they would? Or would decoupling health insurance just profit companies and make workers poorer?

Tax Employer Provided Healthcare?

November 21st, 2016 at 05:54 am

This article in the Washington Post about

Text is how Republicans and Democrats and Link is
how Republicans and Democrats can work together to fix healthcare was interesting.

The first and foremost suggestion is to eliminate the tax free treatment of employer provided health insurance. The majority of Americans are covered by this. The biggest benefit go to the biggest wage earners like how SS tax is capped. I think it would be a good proposal and if we wanted to move to a free market health insurance economy the way to go.

The idea is that people have to buy catastrophic insurance and then if you have money you can buy more layers of insurance and care. Or you can deposit it into a Health Savings accounts for maintenance/prevention. This will help probably the very rich and the poor. But middle class people if I had to guess will end up with the short end of the stick.

I will guess that employers will not pay people more to supplement the tax on the health insurance they provide. Or if they don't need to provide health insurance anymore and EVERYONE has to choose to buy it, that people won't get an equivalent raise. I think it would be interesting to see what would happen if we were all in the same boat of having to buy insurance. The only thing that would have to be left in effect is forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

But if we all didn't have employer provided healthcare? Do you think it would be better? Are you willing to give it up or pay taxes on it?

repealing Obamacare

November 10th, 2016 at 05:54 pm

Donald Trump will repeal parts of Obamacare on the first day in office. I believe this will happen with the republican congress. This is absolutely going to fufill their desire and promise.

I'm excited. I'm a socialized medicine supporter and that's not what Obamacare is. I felt and still do Obamacare was better than what we had. But it wasn't what I would have chosen.

I am curious what Donald Trump will replace it with. He has 10 weeks to propose and tell us what is the Republican answer to Obamacare and how it is different. I believe this is exciting.


Because I think we're about to blow up the American Healthcare system. I think that we are about to cause a catastrophe and health insurance and health care costs will skyrocket in a way the republicans can't even begin to predict. I think it'll spiral out of control faster and unexpectedly and this will cause the US to face the music sooner. Obamacare is actually a system proposed by the Republicans in 90s when hillary proposed socialized medicine during the clinton years. Yet 20 years later they hate it.

CCF you always talk about how bad socialized medicine is with military. But senior citizens have the largest socialized medicine system in the US it's called medicare. Second what do you propose to replace it? I am still waiting on what people propose to replace Obamacare?

Repealing Obamacare will include cutting the subsidies for working and middle class americans. It will allow insurers to lump together high risk people making insurance if I had to guess incredibly expensive for them. But apparently you will be able to buy insurance across state lines.

I am going to guess without being forced to charge the same for high risk preexisting condition people and those who are low risk insurance companies will start to run wild on premiums for everyone.

But this will be a very interesting 10 weeks as we wait to see how this experiment turns out. Do I think Obamacare a success? Yes/No. I think it's great to give coverage to those who couldn't buy it before. But it's not the plan I would have liked.

But now I think Trump will blow it all up by moving toward a free market healthcare. I don't think people really want a free market healthcare when they realize they have to pay for their actual care.

de-linking healthcare

February 7th, 2016 at 10:07 pm

I watched online segments of the Republican debate. I found it interesting. I am curious do most people support the idea of de-linking health insurance with jobs? Are conservatives and republicans for this idea or do most people want to preserve their employer provided health insurance?

Obamacare is actually a republican health policy idea started by republican conservatives in 90s in response to Hillarycare. Personally I would prefer socialized medicine. I like the premise of pre-existing conditions not influencing insurance. Obamacare is the idea that everyone has insurance. We already have single payer insurance in the US it's called Medicare. And no one appears willing to give it up. So I'm wondering if that's the case why are people against single payer over everyone?

I'm very curious and willing to give de-linking health insurance a try. I think we should do it for a 4 year stint and see what happens. Personally I think that the divide between the rich, middle, and poor will become cavernous and people will realize those who can afford health care will receive superior care to those who cannot afford to pay. I also believe that quality of life will fall a lot. That crime and people in poverty will increase tremendously.

Why? We currently pay $700/month for insurance HDHP plan with a $6500 individual, $13k family deductible health plan. This is basically only to prevent BK situations, but everything else we're footing the bill. Previously we were paying $120/month biweekly or about $130/month for a PPO plan provided by DH's company with $20 co-pays.

Now they claimed the benefit was $20k/year for a family, since we paid 10% or so of the premium. Now will the company give us a $20k/raise? I have my doubts. But if they did it wouldn't cover moving to a HDHP unless of course they covered the deductible or a portion of it too. I suspect highly coveted employees and fields will have their premiums covered and deductibles into HSA, but the lower wage earners will not.

I think health care will entirely benefit those who can afford it. Can you pay cash? Then move to front of the line. After all if we were all on HDHP, wouldn't the question arise how are you paying for seeing the specialist? Can you pay in full?

Do you think we could move to a true capitalistic health system de-linked to employment and we all pay our way? Would it work? It would be a very interesting experiment. And one which I think would either supremely work and prove capitalism or flame out and prove healthcare can't be linked to money. Either way I think the US needs to try this out and determine if the value of a human healthcare can be priced. What an experiment.

Auto Insurance Update

October 24th, 2015 at 08:30 pm

So this year after moving our premium for our 2010 Subaru Outback and 2006 Hyundai Sonata is $612 per 6 months or $1224 for 1 year. This is for full coverage on the subaru outback and liability only on the sonata. The breakdown is $345 for 6 months on the Subaru and $267 per 6 months on the Sonata. We are carrying the maximum coverage besides at $250k/500k/$100k and $500 deductible and $250k/$500k coverage on collision.

This is with terrible driving records such as 3 accidents on record at fault. And our premium for sure went up from last year because my DH had I believe 1 claim from being hit while parked, and 1 claim for an at fault accident. My DH is the one with all 3 accidents and all claims thus far.

Last year we paid for full coverage on both vehicles for 1 year $534 for the Subaru and $527 for the Sonata for 1 year for the $250/$500k/$100k limits and $500 deductible.

This year we pay $167 for renter's insurance and $200 for $1 million dollar in umbrella coverage. I priced out progressive, geico, aaa and no one else was close to in price for our cars/homes, driving record. I love Ameriprise.

I am curious if anyone else with Costco membership has priced out the auto and home and umbrella insurance and if they are with Ameriprise or have they gone with Geico or Progressive or someone else.

Everyone I've referred to Costco insurance has switched because it's been cheaper than what they had. So I'd like to know what companies can beat cost? I think that savings on the insurance alone more than makes up for the membership since you can get membership for $55/year.

Health Insurance Premiums

February 3rd, 2015 at 01:01 pm

We've got great coverage for our health insurance through my DH's job. However less and less is being covered and "co-pays" and premiums are going through the roof. It's going up faster than our raises percentage wise. I know others here will weigh in but I hadn't really thought about it till I looked at my DH's paystub this month and cringed a little.

In 2015 we are paying $135/biweekly (26 payments) for family health insurance. We paid in 2014 $119/biweekly for an increase of 13.4% in one year. In 2013 we paid $101/biweekly for an increase in 2014 of 17.8%! In 2012 we paid $96/biweekly for an increase of "only" 5.2%. In 2011 we were paying $84/biweekly for our family plan for an increase of 14.3%. In 2010 when we had our first child and moved to a family plan it was $82/biweekly so the increase was only 2.4%

So in 5 years our premiums have gone up 65%. I imagine in probably the next two years we will have doubled our premium cost. What can be said and done? I don't have a clue. I guess we just suck it up and say I hope we get a raise, which has happened but it's been 2% merit increases. How do we keep up with inflation when some of our fixed costs are spiraling out of control?

I'm not complaining. I'm actually happy we have health insurance and it's a very generous policy. But I worry how much more expensive it's going to get and whether we can ever afford to leave a "group" plan and buy our own.

Have you been tracking your health insurance premiums? Dare I ask what others pay? I am going to guess a lot.

the worries...

September 26th, 2014 at 01:03 pm

I like this blog better than my old one because I don't feel constrained to only talk about finance and money.

So I've been worried about my best friend, I don't say that lightly, my maid of honor and friend of 30 years is sick. She's so sick she hasn't been able to work. She is using Quest health insurance. So of course she put off going to the doctor. She has stomach pains and can't walk, eat, or anything. Yesterday she finally got an appointment with an GI specialist after over a month. They are going to do a endoscopy next week.

The real issue is that she was calling around everywhere and MOST doctors say they don't take quest. It's health insurance for the poor/welfare in Hawaii. Of course with the super low reimbursements many doctors won't see you. So without a job she's unable to go to the doctor but she's been in too much pain to work. I truly believe she is sick. She's never been someone to not work or complain. But now what??? I've always been a firm believer in single payer/socialized system. I married someone from a single payer system. Now more than ever I think the US needs a change. It's not working our system, we're failing to provide basic care for people.

Another interesting update, one which okay I'll admit the people involved are STUPID. My DH's best friend, best man/30 year friendship has gotten his wife pregnant. Sounds good? Nope. They live on two opposite coasts and have been married since the horrible wedding in May, and haven't decided where to live. They are 11 weeks pregnant and have no plans on where to live or even give birth. I suggested making a decision because at 38 years old she's a high risk pregnancy and finding an ob/gyn at 30 weeks pregnant (they were thinking she'd move to our city for birth then back to her city) would be a good idea. What happens if she goes on bed rest? Or can't fly? Actually at that far along she probably shouldn't be flying. The idiocy makes me wonder why they got pregnant? Truth is neither wants to move and compromise but they thought the baby would make one of them change their mind.

Life and it's crazy. I can't obviously say this in real life and my DH would be upset for me calling his BFF an idiot, but he is. FWIW he used to be the trustee/executor of our will. Now with all these idiotic decisions we're revisiting the issue.