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Employee costs up; Employer rate increase less in 2013 October 17, 2013

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, Money.
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The good news is that employer rate increases for large group plans increased by only 3.3% for 2013. The 2012 rate increase was 4.9% and 8.5% in 2011.

The bad news is that the employee share of costs have increased from $2,011 in 2004 to an expected $4, 969 in 2014, according to AON Hewitt.  Remember, while expensive, an employer’s cost-share of health coverage costs is tax-deductible, while not usually to individuals and families. (Want to know more about why our health care is tied to employment?)

AON Hewitt released its’ annual analysis of health coverage costs on October 17, 2013.

President Barack Obama listens to Safeway Pres...

President Barack Obama listens to Safeway President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Burd during a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss employer health care costs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


ASU Student Gets “Full Coverage” – After CEO Answers Tweets September 23, 2012

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance.
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I am a little late to this story, but did you hear about the ASU student health plan and it’s, shall we say, ‘irregularities’?

Read this blog post from the NYTimes.

Excerpt: Arijit Guha, 31, a New York native who was raised in Ohio, learned he had cancer in February 2011 after developing debilitating stomach pain following a trip to India. During surgery, the doctors found the cancer had spread to his abdominal lining, and they removed most of his colon, leaving him with a colostomy. Since then he has undergone more surgery and chemotherapy or, in his words, been “filleted, disemboweled and then bathed in hot poison.”

Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.
Aetna Inc., via Associated PressMark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.

A doctoral student at Arizona State University, Mr. Guha was insured under an Aetna Student Health plan for which he paid $400 a month. The plan initially covered his care, but in February, Mr. Guha’s treatment costs reached the $300,000 cap on the insurance plan, leaving the student with $118,000 in medical bills. read more

Thank you so much Arijit Guha.

  • For taking the time and energy to act for both yourself and the rest of the ASU health plan participants during your illness.
  • For being willing to share the details of your illness @Poop_Strong on Twitter
  • For serving as a catalyst for Aetna to take action on the plan for  all ASU students
  • And alerting all of us to this ridiculously low lifetime cap that could be attached to our college students’ health plans. $300,000 before-$2,000,000 now.

@Poop_Strong, I salute your persistence,  and your continued good health!

2010 Expenses-Update March 20, 2010

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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Insurance changes are trickling in for 2010. First up, only 24 massages per year, or 2 per month from my employer-provided insurance. And this is with a prescription!

(This was, I heard to bring it in line with other “alternative therapies” in the market). Well then. I’ll have to tell my lymphatic system to get on an “alternative” schedule, I guess!

My first compression sleeve of the new year-not covered due to an improper procedure codes. I’ll call my “provider” and see if they need a new code. As far as I know my ICD9 code and prescription on file are sufficient. The cost listed on the “EOB” $194.00. (Explanation of benefits) I need between 2-4 of these per year-as the compression degrades with use. This is a tool to manage my lymphedema.

On the other hand, I just read my first dental EOB more carefully (cleaning, cavity spotting, good grades for flossing-finally and learned that I have orthodontia coverage $1000 of “lifetime” coverage. Hmmmmm. No one is too old for orthodontia anymore-check out your workplace!

In early 2010, I leapt back into the mental health department and found a new therapist.  This costs $90/hour. However, it has been worth it so far. I forgot how helpful just the right question can be-forcing me to consider an answer to a question I had not thought of myself.

Since my weekly out-of-pocket expenses last fall had averaged $90 per week, (see post called Goodbye to 2009 under Expenses) I had taken a holiday from appointments, save the massages, in order to catch up financially.

2010 to date: $150 massage co-pays; $180 for therapist; $194 pending for compression sleeve, $180.22 paid on fall medical bills; $33.80 for initial dental cleaning…..

Total: $738.02 or $67/week for $2010.

Goodbye to 2009 January 5, 2010

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance.
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Now I see why calculating this total was hard for me.

I had an eventful year in 2009, including unanticipated dental work (a cracked tooth that could not be saved), an age related procedure (colonoscopy), a DNA test covered under GINA, and an infection that was treated as if it was MRSA. In contemplating this post, I realized that I have postponed the next visit to my physician, due to the expense.

My expenses  since I began the blog total $$1249.81, divided by 14 weeks. That is a daunting $89.27 per week. Annualized, that is $4,642 spent on health care appointments, premiums, co-pays and out of pocket expenses.

Are there any lessons from 2009?

  • I did a good job managing my lymphedema with exercise, massage and diligent use of my compression sleeve.
  • However, in the last six months, partly since I did not do the 2009 Danskin triathlon, I really fell off the exercise wagon. You won’t read my exercise intentions here for a while (as this is not a fitness blog!) , but I do realize that returning to a regular exercise plan will provide immediate benefits as well as potentially decrease expenses…
  • As far as managing my expenses, some of my out-of-pocket costs could not have been avoided. I look forward to decreasing the other ones in 2010!

Year End Summary Coming December 30, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Healthonymous.
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Dear Readers: Frequent Flyer has taken a few days off. Tomorrow and on New Year’s Day, I will summarize my health care expenses for the 4th Qtr; comment on my favorite parts of the Senate health care bill and muse about 2010 in health. Thanks for making the first 14 weeks of the blog so interesting! What are your predictions for 2010 in health care?

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=new+year%27s+celebration&iid=7412116″ src=”8/9/e/b/Auckland_Residents_Celebrate_d78e.jpg?adImageId=8728722&imageId=7412116″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

PS Maybe I can figure out which of my current expenses will go away when all the provisions of the new health care legislation become effective.

Health Care “Providers” and the $30 Co-Pay December 13, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Healthonymous, Money.
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In my life, I have had many more health care “providers” than I ever dreamed that I would. In addition to the two excellent surgeons that I had for my cancer surgeries, I have seen people with titles such as dosimetrist, audiologist,  and a gynecological oncologist. I even see phlebotomists regularly (oops, just recalled I need to redo my latest CA 125 blood test-the number was slightly elevated last time).

But the health care job title of the person I enjoy visiting most is that of licensed massage therapist! Regular readers know that I have a prescription for massage to treat my lymphedema. My arm always feels better after and it is usually easier to put my compression sleeve back on too. Yes, after ten years, I still wear mine.

This week’s only expense was my $30 co-pay for my every other week massage. It is very helpful to have someone knowledgeable about manual lymphatic drainage look after me, plus they have two hands to minister with and I feel like a on-armed paper hanger sometimes trying to address my own needs. Ever try to kiss your elbow? Sometimes doing your own lymph massage is just that frustrating.

Tantalizing close, but definitely out of reach!

Expenses out of pocket for week ending December 12th: $30.00

No Out of Pocket This Week-Expenses 0 December 5, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Money, Women.
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Another record week-no out-of-pocket health expenses. No bills paid. That is not because I don’t have them, I am just waiting until payday. I am sure that others are in this boat as well. It has been an expensive fall-health-wise for me.

  • Having a colonoscopy,
  • a suspected MRSA cellulitis-complete with an ER visit,
  • and my first ever DNA test was actually not part of the third quarter plan.

I guess I could have waited to get the colonoscopy-I have several friends of a certain age who have not had theirs yet.  December will  be a month to catch up on the bills, get some exercise and make a plan for health in 2010. I had dental work to get done this year, to maximize the insurance coverage and it will just have to wait. Is that thinking about the money too much? Or a smart use of resources?

By the end of December,  I plan to share with you a list of health priorities for next year and their financial impact.

November Expenses-Summary December 1, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance.
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These diary entries are to help me keep track of my out-of-pocket expenses and to illustrate some of the regular expenses of a cancer survivor. Does your bill-paying center look like this desk below? Mine sure doesn’t!

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=paperwork&iid=3080820″ src=”4/1/1/5/b3.JPG?adImageId=7974890&imageId=3080820″ width=”380″ height=”570″ /]

Total of November weeks: $209.09

Plus health care premiums of $86.68

(medical, dental and vision)

Grand Total $295.77

September/October 2009 Total: $690.68

+86.68 October premiums =


For the life of the blog: $1073.13 for ten weeks.

Massage for Lymphedema November 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Humor, Money.
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[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=health+massage&iid=1134532″ src=”6/0/f/b/Massage_bfe8.jpg?adImageId=7903797&imageId=1134532″ width=”380″ height=”283″ /]

And that method did what?

I could ask my licensed massage therapist to hand me a glass now and then however!

Last week’s expenses: $30 co-pay for massage. Too bad my insurance coverage next year will not take my ICD9 code into consideration for treatment. Monthly totals tomorrow.

Total for Week ending November 27: $30.00

Weekly Expenses-ER bill November 20, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance, Money.
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The other shoe finally dropped. Remember my visit to the emergency room (ER)  in October?  Yesterday I received three actual envelopes in my mail-two out of the three were health care related. You can tell that the health care business is important to the Postal Service.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=mail+delivery&iid=5672705″ src=”b/4/6/c/The_Expected_Budget_87b9.jpg?adImageId=7691531&imageId=5672705″ width=”380″ height=”260″ /]

One envelope was the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for the hospital charges from my 3-4 hour visit to receive IV antibiotics for an infection (cellulitis), treated as if it was MRSA. This was the balance of the charges.

The bill (before the PPO adjustments) was $1282.13. This is in addition to the charge (previously noted) for the physician.  This was for the second visit in one day for a cellulitis (skin infection) that was treated as if it was MRSA. I was in intense pain, which probably was nerve pain from the inflammation.

Part of my bill was .23 for pharmacy services. I do not recall what that was. I may spend more than .23 in someone’s time and query the company as to what that was for.

I think that if the burning, sharp, recurrent pain in my head had been described differently by me, (and interpreted differently by the physician) that I might not have needed to go back to the ER, because it would have been treated correctly on the first visit-7 hours before.

My share of the bill is $149.09 (after the $100 ER co-pay).

Weekly Expenses: $149.09

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