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Followed-up on a few things

January 16th, 2009 at 04:25 pm

My mouth is feeling better. I called the dentist's office regarding the crown that fell out. She's going to send me the cement in the mail so I can mix it and put it back in. (Not sure how that'll turn out, but it beats a 3hr round trip). If I can't get it, no biggie. It's in the back of my mouth and not at all visible.

I took DD to the doctor today. No strep, thank goodness. Lungs and ears were clear, so no bronchitis and no ear infection. Just a virus. Nothing we can do but wait it out for a week or so and give her cough medecine to make her more comfortable. I'll add another $10 to medical savings, $5 for my copay and $5 for the RX. I can also add $109.37 for 2 mail order prescriptions. DS has an RX that used to cost $100 under hubby's plan and it only cost me $54.37. I have an RX that used to cost me $73.74 and it now costs me $10.

I'll submit all the receipts to my 2009 FSA tomorrow.

Speaking of FSA, I was successful bumping up my limit to $1000. I originally budgeted $600 for the year (not expecting the dentist bill). Because hubby left his job 1/2, that qualified as a change of status, and I was able to up it to $1000. Totally painless. I thought I'd have to fax over a letter that proved he left his job but nope. The rep just changed it right over the phone. Piece of cake.

I also finally got around to calling my auto insurance company. They already had both of us down as pleasure drivers (no commuting) so no savins there. I did change the deductible on the 2nd car to $1000 from $500. It'll save me about $42 for the year. I'm on an equal payment plan, so it'll save me as $3.81/month for the next 11 months. I still need to take the defensive driver class that AAA sponsors. It'll cost me $60, and it will knock off $120/year for the next 3 years, guaranteed (NJ law). The thought of spending an entire Saturday or two nights to go through the class doesn't thrill me, but for those savings, I really need to.

When I went to pickup the RX at CVS I got the $10ecbs that I was owed from a few weeks back, so I'm all caught up there.

A long $53.75 rant about doctors!

January 12th, 2009 at 08:01 pm

OK, I rarely post two times in one day, but I couldn't wait until tomorrow to vent about my experiences with the people who manage doctor offices! Apologies for the long post.

My obgyn insists that she sees me twice per year for a checkup because I'm on birth control pills. No medical history / age / other reason. If you're on the pill, you come twice a year. She only writes the RX for the pills out for 6 months at a time to insist you come back.

So I went in June, no problem. When I went in December, they charged me a $20 copay. I didn't think much about it at the time, because I never really paid much attention to these things (boy is that changing!).

The receipt the office gave me clearly checked off the box for routine exam. At some point it dawned on me that preventative exams should be covered 100%, so I called the insurance company for clarification. According the the electronic file the doctor's office submitted to them, it wasn't a routine office visit, it was an office visit for menstrual cramps, and as such a copay was warranted.

So I called up the office and they explained that the insurance company only covers 1 preventative office visit per year, so by charging it this way, I only have to pay the copay instead of the whole bill, so it's actually better for me.

Hello, can you say insurance fraud?! The reason that the insurance company only pays for one preventative is because that's all that's needed. She shouldn't be seeing me 2x/year without some overriding medical reason. And if she insists, she should be up front about it, and let me decide if I want to see her the 2nd time at full price or change doctors.

So I spent a good deal of time ranting about this to my extended family and they basically said, small potatoes, insurance companies will never pursue this kind of fraud, and it's probably an isolated incident.

Fast forward to late December, I went to the dentist for a root canal. Office manager told me that they charge $1275 and my insurance will pick up 75%, so I owe them $318.75. Sounded right to me, so I paid it. Now that I'm comparing my old and new plans to see my savings, I pulled up this claim. Turns out, the insurance company paid them 75% of the AGREED UPON RATE OF $910!! So $910 minus my $50 deductible = $840 * 75%. They were reimbursed $645 and they should have charged me $265. That's a difference of $53.75!

I called Met Life and was told that the doctor may wait until they get reimbursed to make the adjustment, and that the check was mailed to them on 1/6, so they may not have it yet. Maybe I'm cynical, but I have a hard time believing that they will call me up next week to credit me for the difference.

You can bet I'm going to call them first thing tomorrow, at which point they'll likely credit me promptly. But how many other people don't bother or don't realize that they should be checking this stuff? It disturbs me that I have to spend time checking to make sure others don't make mistakes / rip me off. At the same time, I can't afford to let $53 go to them instead of me. Ugh!

Way overdue entry!

February 21st, 2007 at 08:09 am

Posting once a week just isn't cutting it...I need to get on here more often. So what's been up?

First, the 2007 Weight Loss Challenge is progressing nicely. As of Monday I'm down a solid 7 lbs from the beginning of the year. I'm doing 40 minutes on the treadmill 4-5 times per week, and I'm still excited about it. So wahoo there!
Speaking of the challenge, PricePlus, are you out there lurking? Haven't seen a post from you for a while, and wanted to make sure you're doing ok...

Second, it's been rebate-central at my house these last few weeks. In addition to the $4 or $5 ones I've been due, I just got back 2 $50 rebates from Verizon for new cell phones we got for Christmas, and I got a check for $375 from my credit card company for rewards that I cashed in. Although February has been a great month financially, I'm still making up for the blows I took in January (brakes for the car, water softener leak), so the extra money will definitely come in handy.

Haven't been inspired to revisit the taxes since my first go-round last week. I need to, though, just so they don't continue to hang over my head.

Did I mention in a previous post that the insurance company is not covering DS's speech therapy yet? Turns out that the diagnosis code used was too vague, so the therapist needs to give me a new one that will be covered. That will be a nice check if/when I ever get it, but until then, it's a hefty chunk of change to lay out. (Also met with the school today regarding the therapy they're going to start giving him. Can the bureaucracy be any worse? It'll be another 2-3 weeks before the next and final(?) meeting, then he can start. Ugh...)

So that's the deal here. Hope everyone is doind well...

Oxford

January 18th, 2007 at 10:37 am

OK, Christmas stuff is down, holiday dishes put away, etc. (The boxes are all in my living room...I'm going to have hubby bring them downstairs when he gets home!). Big sense of accomplishment there.

I sent in for a Musselman's rebate. It wasn't actually a rebate, instead I got a $3 check good toward my cell phone bill (?!). Sent it in and saw that it was applied to my account today, so that's progress.

I also had to follow up with Chase. I got an offer in our local Val-Pak (coupons) for a $10 check if I paid 3 bills online. So I did that back in September but still haven't received the check. They're researching it and will get back to me.

The other big financial thing is my ongoing battle (may be too strong a word) with Oxford, our health care company. My son is getting speech therapy. I paid $350 for the initial evaluation to a doctor still listed as in-network (so it should only have cost $20). Now, he goes for weekly therapy, with an out-of-network doctor (that they approved at in-network rates, because they don't have a doctor in-network that can do it). She charges me $100/half-hour, and I'll need to submit her invoices to be reimbursed. Again, it should only be my $20 copay, but I don't know if they consider $100 Reasonable and Customary, so I have to see what the deal is there...I hope they resolve it soon, because it's costing me big $$.

So that's the deal for the day.

Still Sick

September 28th, 2006 at 10:42 am

Home from work again today. The doctor gave me some horse-sized antibiotic yesterday. I'm on Day 2 of 7...hopefully I'll kick this soon. In the meantime, I'm taking DS to the doctor today. He's still coughing, and I want it checked out in case he needs an antibiotic as well. I hope this isn't a foreshadowing of winter.

I did, however, have the chance to sit in bed and go through the huge packet of coupons Flash sent with the trains. I thought the complaints about expired coupons was overblown until I threw out at least 500 hundred of them! I was going to go back through the garbage can and count them, but it wasn't worth the effort. They're all fixed now and ready to go.

I got the $10 Pepsi Labor Day rebate yesterday, so anyone else waiting on it -hang in there, you should get it soon.

Sick as a Dog

September 27th, 2006 at 05:54 am

So I caught whatever DS had. (Do you think that it has anything to do with the fact that he hangs all over me breathing and coughing)? Wouldn't trade the snuggle time for anything in the world, but I'm paying for it now!

I have been sneezing, coughing, etc. for 24 hours now. I'm actually calling the doctor for an appointment today (which I NEVER do), that's how bad it is. Everytime I cough I can feel it in my chest, so I just want to make sure it's not bronchitis or anything.

So I stayed home from work today. I need to participate in a few meetings, and other than the doctor's, I don't think I'll have energy for much else.

It will be a great opportunity to get my trains organized. We're making a few changes to the Northeaster and the Bullet trains, and Flash mailed them to me a few days ago, so I may get them later on. We're rolling out some new rules/guidelines to make sure that the trains can be tracked a little better, and to make sure that everyone is doing their part. One thing that confuses me are the comments about how many expired coupons show up in the packets...it costs more to mail a heavier package, so why not take the expired coupons out before going to the post office? Don't get it...

I'm also going to request my RiteAid rebate check, and fill out the Walgreens Sep rebate and the second Ensure rebate. I think I'll be pretty caught up after that.

Off to call the doctor. Blech...

I'm tired

August 21st, 2006 at 07:40 pm

Let's see...I find my brain is mush after 10pm, so I'm having difficulty collecting my thoughts.

I have 3 rebates that I need to fill out: $10 for the Pepsi 12 packs, $10 for the Eggo Waffles (should have done this a week ago, but I threw out two of the boxes without getting the UPC codes, so now I need to get them from my MIL, and a Bali Bra rebate (b2g1 free). Also have one of those grocery rebates from Everyday Values to send in. I keep sending them even though I cancelled months ago and they keep sending me the checks.

I also need to mail a few school-related things. Milk money is due soon, as well as emergency forms and the like.

Called my dental insurance charge and confirmed the $93.75 charge. I forgot that our insurance coverage was lowered a bit this year. We now have a $50 deductible, and they cover 75% of cavities instead of 80%. So now that I now it's a legitimate charge, I'm just thankful that we have the insurance...

I'm looking forward to a quiet week. My niece is moving in on Sunday, so I need to do some preparation for her. We've got a play date tomorrow and an all-around quiet week...

Dental Woes

August 16th, 2006 at 07:07 pm

Hubby went to the dentist for his checkup a while back and had a cavity that needed filling. We got a bill in the mail for $93.75, which is our share. I need to call our dental insurance to confirm it because it seems a bit high to me. His checkup was fully covered, so I'm assuming this is the $25 annual deductible plus 20% of the total but the math didn't work out.

But here's the kicker. While he was getting the filling done, the dentist saw that he had a cracked tooth and suggested hubby make an appointment to have it taken care of. Hubby knew the tooth was cracked, but never did anything about it because it never bothered him. He decided to make the appointment and get it taken care of.

Turns out the dentist put the equivalent of a crown on his tooth. As someone with a small fortune of work in my mouth (I told my dentist I wanted to go to his kid's college graduation because I feel like I foot the bill!), I have no objection to what his dentist did; that's how they take care of cracked teeth. However, hubby didn't realize until after the fact that the cost of a crown is $1000! (Again, that's in line with what my dentist charges so I'm not shocked at the number). Our insurance will only cover half, meaning that we have to pay $500!

So on the one hand, I feel like the dentist was just doing his job, and if the work needed to be done it needed to be done, so we just need to suck it up. On the other hand, spending $500 to fix a tooth that wasn't even bothering him in the first place is disappointing, to say the least. I feel like I was duped, but it's our own fault. Adding salt to my wound is the fact that we only have about $125 left in our medical FSA for the year, so that doesn't even fully cover it, and it's just a bad month (aren't they all?) with everything else going on.

Let the buyer beware...even (especially?) with doctors...

Random Musings

July 12th, 2006 at 05:34 am

Hubby and I both get paid on the 15th, but I have the stubs already, so I'll be able to update my July numbers. I'm looking forward to seeing how I'll end up this month, because I have no idea, and knowing is better than not knowing...

I mailed out the coupon train, and got a $2.74 Aquafresh rebate in the mail.

I also received my 2nd mail order RX from Medco. I wrote about this a few months back. Both hubby and I take prescriptions that cost $25/month to fill at CVS. Going through Medco mail order, we pay $50 for a 3-month supply, saving $100/year on each prescription. Can't believe I didn't know about this sooner. When I was on their website, they also list all the RX that we've filled recently at CVS, and the savings if we switched to Medco. In most cases the prescriptions were one-shot deals, and so not eligible for mail order. But even my kids prescription vitamins, which are $9.95 at CVS are $5.83 at Medco. Worth looking into for sure.

I was pretty proud of myself on Monday. A children's clothing store near MIL's house was going out of business. They're clothes are inexpensive normally, and now they are just dirt cheap. I went in thinking I'd pick up some things for the kids. Found a few things they could use, but nothing that totally wowed me. I picked up those few things, but the checkout line was huge, so I said "forget it" and put everything back. I may go back again before they close at the end of the month, but I was proud of myself for not spending "just because it's on sale".

In fact, other than takeout last night ($12.50), I haven't had many unbudgeted expenses. That's key for me.

That's about it in mjrube land...

RX Savings

March 1st, 2006 at 08:23 am

I finally got around to looking into mail order prescriptions. I only take one RX regularly, and it was $10/month last year. This year they raised the cost and it's now $25/month. If I get it mail-order, it will cost $50/3 months. That will save me $100/year (8% of our 2005 medical costs), plus I'll have it delivered to my door. Seems like a great deal to me. I need to go back to the doctor later this month, and will have her write up the new prescription.

I'm also in the process of reviewing our life and accident insurance policies. I already determined that my life insurance policy is competitive, and hubby's not willing to switch his. As for accident insurance, which we both get through work, mine seems like the better deal. I can add a spouse to my policy, but coverage is limited, so I need to figure out what the combined price would be vs. what hubby's paying now. I doubt that it would be more than $1 or $2/month, so I'm not sure I'd make the switch, but I at least want to find out.

Hubby's on a business trip tonight. I hope to get some books listed on half.com. I looked into the other alternatives to ebook, but I don't think they'll pan out. They seem to be more textbook-oriented, as opposed to general books.

That's about it for now. Have a great day everyone...

Errand Day

February 7th, 2006 at 08:41 am

I picked up some prescriptions at CVS today. Ouch! The cost for regular RXs were raised from $10 to $25 for 2006, and one name brand is $50! And this is with insurance! Luckily, the flexible spending account will reimburse me, but it's still money. Only one of the prescriptions is reoccuring. I need to look into the savings if I do it mail order.

After lunch I need to hit the grocery store. I want to keep it under $20, because I had a pretty big order last Saturday. I also need to return some books to the library before I have to pay a fine on them. Edited to add - Spent $20.87 at the grocery store ($39.10-coupons and bonus club savings). Also had to pay a $4.50 fine for DD at the library for some really overdue books. I really need to get better about this...

The kids need haircuts, but I'm not sure when I can fit them in. That's about it for now...

Feels like March 1st!

May 25th, 2005 at 09:15 am

This weather is ridiculous! The high today is going to be 53 degrees. 53!!! June 1st is in 6 days! Unbelievable. Things my way are going fine. Yesterday was my at home day, and a pretty productive one at that. DS had a friend over for about 1 1/2 hours, so I was able to straighten up, do some laundry, and read the paper! After the friend left, we pretty much just bummed around the house and played. We picked up dd from school and went to a park with some friends, but it was sooo cold and sooo windy, that we only stayed for about 30 minutes. She was supposed to have T-Ball at 6:00 last night, and I was hoping all day that it would be rained out, but no such luck. So we stayed home anyway. I'm not usually into doing that - the whole team commitment thing - but then again, she's 6, it was cold and damp, and the last thing I need is sick kids! So a spend-free day for me!

I need to go back to ShopRite, because they made a $7+ error on my bill from Monday. I was going to go yesterday but just didn't feel like leaving the house, so I'll get there tomorrow or Friday. How inconvenient. When updating my price book last night, I found another error from a receipt from last month, this time in my favor, when they rang up the same item for .89 and 1.79. (Both should have been 1.79). The point is that I need to get better about 1) watching stuff as they ring it up and 2) checking my receipt as soon as I get home. My problem is that I really need to find a way to avoid shopping with my kids, because 1) it's impossible to watch the register when I'm also watching them (act up) and 2) they add money to my bill each week!

I also called Oxford yesterday to see if her trip to the eye doctor would be covered. No such luck. The bill was $95 Frown and I already paid the $15 copay, which means a bill for $80 should be heading my way soon. It will be reimbursed by our FSA, so I guess that's a little (not much) consolation. I also needed to order ink for our printer. What a racket Dell has. Apparently, you can't buy their ink from anyone but them. A black ink and a color ink cartridge cost me over $60! I need to start cracking down on the kids printing so much stuff out. They go through ink like water!

The rest of the day should be fun. DS has a birthday party after school and hubby is due back around dinner time. I'll check out the American Idol final tonight (this is the first season I've watched, and now I follow it pretty closely). No spider solitaire for me tonight...

Addicted to Spider Solitaire

May 23rd, 2005 at 08:06 pm

I had great hopes of being super-productive during hubby's business trip, and it's just not happening! Instead, I get the kids to bed, grab a glass of wine, and hop on the computer to alternate between this site and spider solitaire! Yikes!

Today was a good day, although I spent some unbudgeted money. First, I needed to take dd to the eye doctor for a checkup. The nurse at her pediatrician's office said her eyesight was 20/30 at her 5-year checkup and 20/40 at her 6 year checkup, so they recommended that we get it checked out by a specialist. I took her today, and she's fine - 20/20 - which makes more sense to us because we've never seen an indication that she's struggling with her vision. So while we're thrilled with the results, it was a $15 copay, and they don't think it will be covered by insurance. I need to call Oxford tomorrow and see if the fact that it was a referral from her pediatrician makes a difference. Otherwise, I have no idea what the bill will be.

On the way home, we stopped at ShopRite. I only needed a few things, but taking the kids with me always adds to the bill. Ice cream was on sale, and they suckered me into getting all the fixins for ice cream sundaes (sprinkles, chocolate sauce, etc.) that I never would have bought if I were on my own. Oh well...The total still came in under $50 ($49.71!), so that's still ok.

Tomorrow is my stay-at-home day. I may bring the car in for an oil change if I can, but that should be the only expense. DD has Tball tomorrow night, but we sure won't be going out for ice cream afterwards - they can have it at home!!! I'm curious to see as the month winds down where we stand. We got the escrow refund check, and our NYS tax refund, but owe money to the landscapers. I'm hoping that I'll have about $1700 leftover, because that will bring the HELOC below $30k, and psychologically, that would be cool.

We'll see how it goes...

Lots of stuff to do...

May 11th, 2005 at 07:39 am

I'm having a pretty good week so far. Hubby went to the dentist for his checkup last night. No cavities, and we're allowed 2 checkups each per year, so not out-of-pocket either! I managed to plant another bunch of string beans on Monday afternoon, about 2 weeks after the last bunch. I still have more spinach and sugar snap peas to do today. I think the rest of the veggies will need to wait a week or two, as it still gets down to the 45-50 range at night and that's pretty cold.

I notice that I haven't been doing a lot of stuff on my "to do" list lately, so I'm going to list it here and try to hold myself accountable for it:

1) Increase hubby's 401(k) contribution
2) 3 loads of laundry
3) Open up a checking acct at Chase - $75 bonus
4) Box up kids clothes for my friend
5) Finish planting spinach and peas

I have a ton more to do, but I don't want to intimidate myself by listing it all knowing there's no way I can get to everything. So I'll start here and see how I do...

Still sick...

April 12th, 2005 at 08:23 am

...but I need to venture out of the house today. Hubby's birthday is Thursday, so I need to head to the store to pick up a few things for him. After sleeping on the couch all day yesterday, and going to bed at 9:00, I feel a little better, and well enough to go out. I'll also attempt the grocery shopping, but I think I can get by without it.

Next line item on my budget are doctors/RX. This is a pretty good category for me because we're all relatively healthy. Hubby has a great medical plan at work (and the premiums come out pretax), and we use his FSA for out of pocket expenses. I'm not really inclined to cut corners here. I don't mind not going to the doctor myself (who has time?) and I don't really like to take anything, but when it comes to the kids, I don't like to fool around.

Should be a quiet rest of the week. I'm hoping for one or two no-spend days at some point!

A new month...

April 1st, 2005 at 09:17 am

April will be a tough month for us. We owe federal taxes, and are getting NY state money back. But of course, I didn't file that first, so I'll be out all of the money for federal and won't get back the NY for a month or so. (It's that cost of disorganization I was talking about a few posts ago). Anyway, the net result is that we're out about $1100. We kind of expected it, because it's the same every year, but it still hurts to send in the check. We've also bought a few things for the house that we had been putting off and finally decided to bite the bullet and buy. I hate starting the month off behind the 8-ball!

The kids are going to the doctor today ($30 total copay, plus any medications that are prescribed). We just started doing a healthcare FSA this year, so for some reason, I'm not as disturbed about this, because we'll get reimbursed (even though it already came out of our paycheck). I'm sure that we'll need to pay parking for the concert tonight, and we planned on having takeout, but that should come out of our allowance.

Update on my quest to reduce the electric bill: We're on budget billing, and we're running about $125 under, through the first four months. I'm hoping that even with increased use over the summer, we'll still be able to knock it down to $120 for next year.

The next line items on the budget are phone/cell phone. I just changed my LD plan to some ridiculously low rate (2.7c out of state, 4.5c regional in state). This should knock about $10/month. I need to get better about using my cell phone for more of these calls. We usually have enough minutes leftover at the end of the month that I could do some of the long distance calls using that.

Have a great weekend!