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This post is not about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

My husband’s job provides this magical pony of a Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO that gives us access to pretty much all the care in the world. All he has to do is work 350 hours a quarter.

Unfortunately, winter was winter and this has been quite a slow start to the season in terms of bricklaying, so he’s not working yet. He’s doing odd jobs and whatnot, but no real income right now. So when we got the insurance bill we were expecting it to be painful but we did not, in our wildest nightmares, expect it to be $1866.37 painful.

But it was.

When we started having problems with the mortgage company I set aside part of our tax return in case we had to move quickly. A moving fund. We have just recently had to tap into that moving fund to keep the bills paid and ourselves afloat. There was still money left, though, more than enough to get through this. More than enough to keep the car paid until Mr. Brickie went back to work.

There was just about $1800 in that box buried in the backyard. Just about the exact amount we need to pay for our next three months of amazing insurance.

I seriously just want to hit my head against a wall until it all makes sense.

Thankful. I’m supposed to be thankful. I keep reminding myself if I hadn’t made the right decision when I did, if I had gone to Disneyland with that savings money instead of squirreling it away, if I had taken the kids on any kind of a vacation we wouldn’t be able to pay it.

We might have had to borrow money or beg on the Internet with our little virtual tin cups.

We might have had to try and navigate the Affordable Health Care website, which has been nothing but trouble when I’ve done it for friends and family.

Even if I might personally feel this is a horrible, painful money setback I am still thrilled with the care our insurance provides. The huge network, the low deductibles, the minimal copays and the amazing vision insurance just cannot be undersold.

So goodbye savings account. I will miss you with all my heart and you can be sure I will have twice as much saved this time next year. Because emergencies that clear me out only happen once. I learn from my mistakes and soldier through.

The Initial Plan

First, we were going to save $100 a week from Mr. Brickie’s paychecks. He will get about 32 paychecks before the season ends. That plus the tax return and we have a pretty good winter slush fund. Then, three weeks after he starts working he gets an approx. $4/hr. raise because he will be a 50% apprentice (he’s so close). So whatever that ends up being after taxes and dues will also be added on to the savings.

I’m going to be a hoarder when it comes to cash this year.

The irony is that because of our income (or lack thereof depending on the time of year) we currently qualify for Medicaid as secondary insurance. Of course, no one accepts it and if you tell the hospital about it they talk about you being a “partial write off” because they won’t even bother.

It might just kick in as primary, but I don’t want to take the risk. My kids have dentist appointments scheduled, I have new glasses to get a hold of this calendar year, and I’ve already been in the ER twice this year so….it’s important to me to have good insurance.

Am I just being stubborn? Or is this exactly what an emergency fund is for? I know it should be seen as an expense and we will absolutely look at it that way next year, but for this year…this is what it’s been sitting there waiting for. We can’t possibly get foreclosed on and evicted in less than about a year from right now, so a moving fund is nice but totally unnecessary right now.

So let there be insurance.

I guess.

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4 Comments on The Price of Insurance & Saying Goodbye to Savings

  1. Oh my gosh, talk about sticker shock! 🙁

    You’re right about the moving fund; you definitely have time to build that back up. You are a month behind us (we stopped paying in July 2013) and we expect to be here at *least* a year from now.

    When I got laid off in 2001, I continued my BCBS insurance through COBRA for 18 months, and then I put my kids on KidCare (I think it’s called AllKids now). Back then it was really hard for an adult to qualify for Medicaid, so I paid for private insurance for myself.

    Dave goes to the VA for his treatment; I started on Medicare in 2010, two years after I went deaf and started collecting SSDI.

    AllKids worked well for us; the kids were able to get their medical care, prescriptions and dental for free. They did have to change pediatricians and dentists, but we were lucky to find new providers nearby without any problem.

    I came VERY close to canceling my (private) insurance at the beginning of 2008. UniCare was raising my premiums a lot, and I told my husband it would be cheaper to just pay for the few doctor visits I had. He knows how I worry, though, and convinced me to stay insured. I switched to Aetna, which was cheaper, and then I went completely deaf four months later. :-0 If I hadn’t had that insurance, I would never have been able to get cochlear implants! (As it was, later that year they tried to claim it was a previous condition and threatened to cancel my coverage retroactively, which was TERRIFYING, ugh. Luckily all the documentation proved it was truly a case of sudden hearing loss, not me trying to scam Aetna. Assholes.)

    Ahem! There is no real point to this, just rambling at you to let you know I totally understand why you want to keep that insurance paid up. You have a good plan for the future and I just know you’ll get that moving fund built up.

    Sending Get Back to Work Soon vibes to Mr. Brickie, and hugs to you!! <3

    • If I was ever considering cancelling my insurance you have changed my mind. Talk about perspective, you took my breath away. I’ll be keeping the insurance and being thankful for the option.

  2. Definitely two ways of looking at this: ugh! Insurance wiped out our savings. Or: I’m so grateful we had that money to pay the insurance. It seems like you are taking choice number two, and I feel like that’s the best way. Besides, what’s done is done. May as we’ll feel good about the choice.

    I really feel for all you are going through right now. You’re in all my good and warm and fuzzy thoughts.

    • I am absolutely putting a WHOLE LOT of effort into looking at it as a blessing rather than a curse. I hate when things are so purely based on perspective because it’s then I know that I have 100% of the power over how I see/feel/react to the situation and that makes it even more difficult to just chill out about it. 🙂 But you know and I know that how we see is what comes to be so I’m doing my best to keep it grateful.

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