Health Insurance, as it turns out, is handy to have.

Now that I’m looking at $8k in: ER visits (~$3k apiece), doctor’s visits, and ultrasounds (~$1k apiece); and a potential $10k surgery coming up, I figured I should figure out what my insurance covers, and how much it’s gonna hurt my wallet.

I don’t have a normal plan, like Blue Cross, I have a kinda confusing (but somewhat cheaper) one, a Cigna HRA.

Here’s how it boils down:

Phase 1: For the first $1000 in bills, Staples pays everything.
Phase 2: For the next $600 in bills, I pay everything.
Phase 3: After that, Cigna pays 80%, I pay 20%. This phase lasts until I have paid $900.
Phase 4: Cigna pays 100% of the bills.

So once I have paid a total of $1500 out-of-pocket from phase 2 and 3, that’s it for what I have to pay. After that, Cigna pays 100% of the bills.
This lasts until the untap phase (M:TG joke) in July, when it resets for the year and the whole things starts over.

I put $600 or so in a pre-tax HSA (Health Savings Account) at the beginning of the year, plus got a $150 credit from Staples for filling out a health survey, so that’s $750 taken care of. Which means of the potential $15,000 – $20,000 in medical bills, I only have $750 left to pay.

That’s actually not bad at all. A hell of a lot better than coming up with $20,000.

Now I need to figure out how my Vision coverage works. I could use new glasses, my prescription is from like 6 years ago and, although adequate, could probably be improved.

Mail Woes

If you tried to email me at my tev (at) tev (dot) net account in the past two weeks, I didn’t get it – there was some kind of glitch at Points South that resulted in my mail bouncing instead of getting through.

Should be fixed now though, Alex started looking at it yesterday and figured it out today around noon. I tried a couple tests and they got through ok.

Since mail was bouncing, I think that two weeks of mail is gone forever. Snooj mentioned they might have the last day or two in a buffer, but I’m not counting on that, since it was bouncing in a weird way.

Which sucks… I was wondering why I never got an email notice when my E*Trade stock purchase went through, or when I tried that RealAge thing…

I’ve been toying with the idea of handling my mail through google, which would make sense since I use the gmail interface to check my mail anyway… I think I just have to get my mxrecords to point to gmail or something. Maybe I’ll look into it this weekend.

– – –

On the plus side, my E*Trade stock purchase cleared today, might take another day or two to transfer it into my bank account, but then I can pay off my discover card and car, and I’ll be debt free! Yay!

Financial Janitor part 2

I looked up my car loan. I have $11,000 left on it, and the interest is 8.64% – high enough to actually consider cashing out some stock to pay it off.

Summer is always a low point for Staples stock though, so I may wait till September to do it, since the stock usually goes back up around back-to-school time, for obvious reasons.

Oh, also, the visioncare plan that Staples offers, that I thought I had missed the window for?
Apparently I already signed up for it the moment it was available.

Good work, past Tev! He’s constantly surprising me with his competence.


I’m no financial wizard.

In fact, I’m not even a financial janitor.

I’m something on the order of “financial village idiot who smacks a brick against his head in exchange for scraps of food.”

So I have this stupid financial thing I want to do. I want to cash out some of my stock, and pay off my car loan.
It’s a foolish thing to do, because the car is depreciating (going down in value) and the stock is appreciating (going up in value) and it doesn’t make sense to exchange one for the other. It’s like trading a calf for dried up old beans that aren’t even magic.

However, there is a perception and emotional aspect to this. Every month, I make a large car payment. If the loan were paid off, I would feel better because:

a) I would have no debt other than my mortgage, and
b) I would have a pile of cash in my pocket every month that I would normally send away as a car payment.

I’m seriously contemplating it. I’d be using stock that could potentially be worth more in the future, but I’ll only be using a portion of my stock, and dammit, it would be nice to have some spare money each month, to invest, or y’know, go to Iceland with.

I might put a trigger on the stock, so it waits until the stock hits a certain price before selling. Right now the stock is under $25, but it’s been as high as $28. Maybe I’d set the trigger for $25.50 or $26. Typically summer is a bad time for the stock, though, so it might be a while until the trigger hits.

Sigh. I dunno. I know nothing when it comes to this crazy stocks and loans stuff.

Oh, also, I found out today that Staples now has vision insurance available, that could pay for a new pair of glasses every year. Of course, today is the day *after* the signup deadline. Damn! Though from what I hear, there might be a way to still do it. Have to find out, new glasses would definitely be worth $5/month. I wonder if it would cover part of Lasic surgery?