October 30, 2009

Communication is Key!

Filed under: budgets,crazy,insurance,money,network,websites — by elysianconfusion @ 6:44 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m still struggling with the dermatologist bill. When I checked, the doctor’s office had resubmitted the bill for another provider to see if that would pay more, and then they wrote to me and said it didn’t work, that the other provider billing gave them less money.

So I logged in to check my claims, and they didn’t give *less* money. They gave *no* money. They denied the claim as a duplicate (which it was, so that’s legit).

Then I called PHCS at the suggestion of my HR department. PHCS agreed that the (original) doctor was in-network and a covered provider. I said great, can you tell Guardian that? They said no. They cannot call Guardian or communicate with them in any way on my behalf. Explain to me how that is useful or efficient? The only thing they said I could do was to call Guardian and ask them to submit the claim again, Guardian would then send it to PHCS to determine if the doctor is in network and theoretically *this* time they’d say yes, she’s in network and a covered provider, they’d pay the doctor’s office and I would stop getting billed.

I asked if there was anything else I could do, since this process obviously hasn’t been working since July, in spite the doctor consistently being listed on the website and via phone and as confirmed by the doctor’s office. No, nothing else to do.

So I called Guardian again. They asked if PHCS had provided me with something (a form?) and said that’s what PHCS usually does when things don’t work like this, but since they didn’t and weren’t planning to do so, they’d submit the claim again for research. If I’m supposed to call PHCS to confirm that the doctor is covered, why exactly is it that Guardian and PHCS can’t call each other?

I have a feeling that I’ll be paying this bill.


October 26, 2009

Insurance is Baffling

Filed under: insurance,mess — by elysianconfusion @ 5:11 pm

Once again I have the returning bill. The insurance company insists that I selected an out of network doctor. I don’t even know what to do yet. How frustrating!

Do I just pay the bill and keep arguing with the insurance?? Do I just submit the receipt for my flex spending and forget about it? My problem really is that if this doctor wasn’t in network, how can I ever be sure that another I pick is in network?

Apparently it’s completely unreasonable that I should think the doctor I selected from their website should be covered. And I truly do not understand that they can’t update their website if it’s incorrect. Why ever not? It’s a database, I’m sure. What a waste of everyone’s time.

October 21, 2009

A Car for the Kitchen

Filed under: budgets,debt,family,money — by elysianconfusion @ 5:35 pm

We had three cars.We live in rural(ish) middle Massachusetts, so there’s no public transportation to speak of, and in my little town there are almost no sidewalks, and basically nowhere to walk to either.  I can walk to the farm behind my house, but they’re conventionally grown everything, so I prefer not to. Sometimes local outweighs organic, but a lot of the produce we grow in our garden at home, without pesticides.

Anyway, I know we need two cars. But three, three has been driving me crazy for 18 months. Our old 4Runner had a run of costly repairs, and gas prices were insanely high, and we bought a new Corolla. I didn’t mean to buy a new one… I wanted to get a used one — but the used ones, the prices were so high, and the interest rates were higher for used than for new, so we did buy a new Corolla. The plan was to trade in the 4Runner, which would have been a pretty bad trade, but it was in the shop at the time. And my husband really loves that truck. He promised he’d sell it.

Well, he didn’t. I would have sold our Sienna or our Corolla and just kept the 4Runner, but I couldn’t. Car values depreciate so quickly that I couldn’t have sold either car for what I owed on it. So I’d have to basically, well, it felt like I’d have to go into MORE debt to get rid of a good car and have a car that had almost 200k on it that needed more repairs.

At last, this past weekend, my husband sold his 4Runner to his brother for $1,000. His brother is broke and needed a car.  So my husband got to keep it in the family, help his brother out, and make a little bit of money. Not much.  His brother drove up, 2.5-3 hours, with his wife, to pick up this car. His wife stood in our driveway and glared at us the entire time they were here. She didn’t come in to use the bathroom, or have a drink of water, coffee, tea, a snack, lunch. I also gave her a bunch of winter clothing for her youngest child and a few books and games.

They got a great car that will likely last another 100 – 200k miles, they got a great price. My husband took great care of it. Maybe she didn’t want the car.

Anyway, and maybe this is the wrong thing to do, I plan to use the 1k to make some moderate home repairs.  It’s sort of “found” money, and maybe… maybe it would be best to apply it to the debt. But it’s hard to put all your money towards debt, and I can’t legitimately pull money monthly to do home repairs. The many debt calculators I’ve looked at confirmed that the most important thing for paying down debt is a significant snowball. The EVERY month payment is the most important.

What do you think? I haven’t spent it yet, and I plan to do it as frugally as possible.

October 19, 2009

Where does all the money go?

Filed under: birthday,budgets,children,crazy,debt,family,mess,money,Uncategorized — by elysianconfusion @ 5:39 pm
Tags: ,

I should probably wait more than a month before going back to check our progress. Because for all the money rushing out, it doesn’t feel like it’s going down a bit!

Right now, we’re at 389,117.17

Last month it was 391,582.87.

2465.70 down in a month. I guess it’s progress. Possibly I should add that this month, instead of 71.04 for our snowball, it was 551.04. (Which, ahem, might have been a little over optimistic this month.)

We also had our 4 year old’s birthday party, complete with a dinosaur cake (mine wasn’t this pretty). I was going to post a photo, but the head fell off. There’s a reason I’m not a professional cake decorator. I still find it hard to budget for birthdays, and got into a whole argument with my husband, who went out shopping with the list, but spent almost all the money in the envelope. That was for groceries and the party (I combined two envelopes). But it was also for groceries for the rest of the month. He says he just got the stuff on the list, but I say you have to keep in mind the total amount and decide where to cut back as you shop. You can’t always have everything on the list. Especially if you ever shop at BJs. They kill me every time.  I think the bulk pricing can make things cheaper, but sometimes you just spend all your money there.

So, we’re pinching pennies big time here for the next 11 days or so.  Of course we have tons of stuff in our pantry, and the cars have gas, so it’s really a matter of making it through without spending extra. I’m not entirely sure we’ll make it. I’m always playing catchup from the last month, so I take away from things that are budgeted (because we need them, so my plan was good to budget for them). Not sure where to take away from this month, there’s nothing left to cut.

Still, I got my social security statement on Friday, and I earned more last year than I’d actually ever earned in my life (and 5 months of last year I was working part-time). And my current pay stubs tell me that I’ve already earned more this year than last. So where does all that money GO?

Blog at WordPress.com.