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Out-of-Pocket Day September 21, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Money, Women.
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Today I caught up with the billing department at my local health care provider. I had to pay an outstanding (and by outstanding I do not mean super cool) co-pay from when I got my routine mammogram this summer. (To quote a friend of mine-did you not hear the President-mammograms and colonoscopies should be covered as preventive care!) . I was hoping it was preventative before he was but I was wrong. $20.00 for that one, plus I had to pay the % portion left over from an endometrial biopsy last spring. (Hint on that procedure-ask for drugs. No, really.)

I always wait until the insurance has sorted itself out on these charges.  I don’t really want to pay these bills in full prior to learning what the “adjusted HMO payment” will be. That was $38.15. And the end of the month is still 9 days away!

Total today: $58.15

Month to date: $$248.49

PS How many “routine” mammograms have I had in my life? Let’s see; one a year since the first cancer, plus the years where I had to have one every six months. I’ve probably had more than 30 mammograms. Those of you who have the luxury of waiting until age 40-don’t put them off. If you get started then, you too may live long enough to have more than 30 in your lifetime! By mammogram, I also mean the appointment, not the number of X-rays. Sometimes you get to play in a bonus round. For a fact sheet on breast cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute website.


12% Increase and How Much is Too Much September 17, 2009

Posted by Admin in Money.
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Well, I anticipated correctly. Today my company handed out the preliminary notice about open enrollment. This year’s health insurance increase will be 12%. I pay 25% of the monthly cost and the company pays the other 75%. I haven’t seen a 12% raise for a while, have you?

Also, I was at a meeting today where a speaker reminded us that some of our fellow health insurance users might be using too much health care because “well, I already paid for it”. I understand the process that might lead someone to have procedures done that might be available but not always necessary. Would I have not had my colonoscopy if I had to pay a greater share of it? Is that procedure cheaper than having cancer? Probably. Did I research that? Well, no. But I do have previous experience…Did I shop around for the cheapest colonoscopy? Well no. It was hard to even get an estimate and the insurance company wouldn’t even give me the amount that they would reimburse the clinic because they worry that the clinic will then charge that amount. Does my colonoscopy affect the double digit premium increase in the aggregate?

Here’s one reason that I went and did this right away, unlike some people I know who have postponed that procedure to age 52 or 53. I think I wanted to know if I had any risk factors for another type of cancer. I got to hear the physician tell me that no biopsy was needed.  I’ve not heard that a lot. No return procedure for ten years also great news. I agree with President Obama that colonoscopies, like mammograms, should be considered part of preventive care. But I couldn’t afford to wait for the  bill to pass! (No pun intended.)

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