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Oh, the irony!

Times are tough. Everyone is re-evaluating their budget and looking for ways to cut back. I have been fortunate to be blessed with two healthy children who picked up all their “kiddy krud” during their day care years. Once they started regular school, their immune systems were pretty tough and fought off most of the viruses circulating the school grounds.

Having the reliable-with-good-benefits job of my marriage and divorce, I have always carried the health insurance that has been (knock on wood) rarely used for more than healthy child visits. During open enrollment last November, rather than quickly electing the higher paycheck withdrawal of the HMO benefit, I did extensive research on lowering my payroll deductions. You say I can save $80 a month by choosing this PPO coverage? I have the same coverage as before but I now contribute 20% towards the charge? Sign me up!

For the past three years, I also had a medical flexible spending account to cover out of pocket expenses. The laws changed effective 1/1/11 and you could no longer purchase over the counter items with this fund. Also, the “administrator” of this program had changed in 2009 and was now requesting receipts for everything (three month’s later no less!). Given these changes, I elected (and now regret) to not contribute to a medical FSA.

Nine months since this new health insurance has gone into effect, I’ve had my son at the pediatrician twice. The first visit was for hemorrhaging nosebleeds that were occurring with an alarming frequency and flow. Of course, there’s a co-pay for the office visit and then the recommended blood work. Today’s visit was the result of his complaints of chest pain and trouble breathing. There’s another office visit co-pay. Let’s throw in a script for more blood work to rule out mono and liver problems and a script for a chest x-ray. Lucky us!

Granted, the co-pays and 20% responsibility charges are not much as an individual charge, but add these expenses to my already-strained budget, and I’m feeling the stress. Let’s hope “Mr. Large” from the UK (who has picked me to share his wealth with) comes through with his donation of $500,000. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.

Moral of the story: I am truly thankful to have healthy children. If you have access to better health insurance coverage, don’t be like me and try to cut corners. Sign up for the best coverage possible or be smart and contribute to a flexible spending account to cover these unplanned expenses.

Thanks to @ThePGHA for the song reference giving me this blog idea.

[Addendum:  This post is just a venue for me to gripe about my poor planning. Given the tragedies in the world today (hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and the 911 anniversary), my complaints are trivial.]

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