November 3, 2011

It’s been forever…

Life gets in the way. But I was reminded by some asshole today that my blog sucks, so even if no one is interested, I’m going to post something just to piss it off. HA.

So – my home equity loan – easy to refinance last November or so – then I noticed rates went down so asked if we could get the new rate? YES! So it’s at 3.99 and that cost us NOTHING.

My 5/1, which arguably was a huge mistake, now has an interest rate of 3.00%. Every year that it has adjusted, it’s gone down. Crazy. It’s certainly working for us right now. For these rates and many other reasons, I love my credit union.  Find one for yourself! http://www.findacreditunion.com/

What else… last November we were at $352,211.05. Now we’re at $319,589.11. That’s $32,621.94 and I guess that’ll have to be good enough. Our car is almost paid off, so that’ll help quite a bit. For now I plan to throw that payment at debt, then I’ll start saving for the next car.

There really is something to using those debt snowball spreadsheets – even if you’re doing an avalanche or whatever. Just seeing that it’s possible for ALL the numbers to go to zero is really empowering.

At our current payment rate, it looks like everything but the mortgage could be completely paid off by March 2015. That’s not so far away. And maybe it could go faster if we work out our snowflakes.

Maybe I’ll do another update soon to see where we are on reducing specific debts (credit cards, car loan, mortgage, student loan).



February 15, 2010

Spreadsheets RULE

Filed under: budgets,children,debt,family,insurance,money — by elysianconfusion @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , ,

Where would I be without spreadsheets? I use them for my budget, for my debt snowball, to plan how much I need in my emergency fund, and to track my escrowed savings. I’ve gotten a lot more adept at calculations in Excel. My latest addition to this is a new checking account at ING Direct.

Partly this is because I had savings there already (at 1.2% a much better rate than my credit union) and they said if I opened a checking account I’d get .25% interest and a $50 bonus if I made three signed purchases (not debit) in the first 45 days. I have two savings account, one for items I escrow and another for my emergency fund. It’s nice to have this separate from my other accounts, it makes it harder to spend the money.

My escrowed funds include money for:

  • Preschool tuition/deposits ($1500 deposit!)
  • Oil and wood for home heating and propane for hot water
  • Real-estate taxes
  • Christmas fund
  • Vacation fund
  • Home insurance

That’s been going pretty well. And it makes me feel a lot better. As I play it out, I always have enough to pay what’s necessary, with a little cushion.

Now that I have a checking account too, though, I am also trying to take control of some of the budget line items that are hard to plan for with precision. I hope this makes it easier.

  • Household (includes minor home repairs, paint, shelves)
  • Car repairs (includes inspections, maintenance)
  • Clothing
  • Medical (I get flex spending back for this, but it’s nice to have money planned to pay for it)
  • Father’s insurance (I pay once every three months or so)
  • Gifts (hopefully this will help with months that require more gifts — why does everyone have their birthday at the same time?)

This is experimental, but the checking account has already helped me — I paid my propane bill directly instead of having to transfer money back and forth. I’m hopeful! I wonder if I can get a spreadsheet to make me better at snowflaking?

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.

September 29, 2009

Figuring out Insurance is Torture

Filed under: budgets,crazy,insurance,money,network,websites — by elysianconfusion @ 3:53 pm

I have great insurance. My company pays 100% of the medical for me and my family, and it’s a Preferred Provider Organization. There’s a website to look up providers, and overall they’re pretty easy to use.

But I selected a dermatologist from the website based on her being in network. My insurance paid the majority of the bill, but told me that because she’s out of network, I have to pay 45.94. I know this isn’t a lot of money, but it’s still money, and I picked this doctor because she was in network. I asked the insurance company. They agreed, it looked like she was in network. They researched it. Then they told me that no, she was not in network. I sent them a screen shot showing that she WAS in network and asked how to select a doctor if the doctor they  list on the website (for over 4 months in a row) as being in network is actually not. They just said that they confirmed with the “network” that she wasn’t in it.

So I called the doctor’s office. They think they’re in network too.

All I can think is that somehow (although I did this step by step with someone from the insurance company on the phone) I did something wrong searching for a provider. Seems like I’m being stupid, right?

But actually, the process is quite baffling. You go to the website, log in, select “Find a Provider,” then select “Find a Doctor,” then “Select a Plan.” Ok, so I need to select one of these:

  • PPO
  • Extended Access PPO
  • ChoiceGuard
  • Complementary

(I have no idea which one is right. It says to refer to your card, which I do, and it doesn’t actually say any of those things on it.)

So I enter PPO, hoping that that’s right. Then I enter my zip code (or complete address) and proceed to the next page. Then I have to choose my network. Options here are:

  • FirstHealth
  • Healthlink PPO
  • Lab Card
  • LifeSynch
  • MultiPlan
  • National Capital PPO
  • PHCS Preferred Provider Organization

Ok, so my card says PHCS, Multiplan, and Lab Card. Ummm… ok, so I select PHCS because that’s the big logo on the front of the card. Interestingly, when you do that, the resulting page says MultiPlan in HUGE letters, and then on the right it says “Search on below logo: PHCS.”

Now I have to choose a provider type; I select Doctor or other health care professional, and press Continue. Now I have to enter my zip code (or complete address if I’m so motivated) again. And then I need to select the type of doctor. I select Dermatology. Then I can enter the doctor’s name, first or last, or both. (There are more search options I’m not using, such as gender, languages spoken, and hospital affiliation.)  I click continue and there’s my doctor’s name, address, and phone number. What am I doing wrong? And why is this so hard?

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