Thursday, January 31, 2013

Health Insurance Changes - $$ Savings!

Photo credit: forwardcom
For the last 12 years, my employer has been providing health insurance to my family.  As the job (and employer) changed and our family grew, these costs steadily grew.  But it's health insurance and we needed to have it, so it continued to be withdrawn from my check at a steady rate.  It's just one of those things you assume will always be.

Well, starting last week, Chip went on full time duty orders with his National Guard unit and will be for about 18 months at least (hopefully more after that).  So we bit the bullet and signed up for Tri-Care, the military's health insurance program.  There are various details that go with it, but basically, we dropped all of the medical insurance that I carried at work and kept the vision and dental insurance from my employer (better coverage and quite cheap).

There is no premium cost for Tri-Care.  For Chip the program is completely free - he just has to use doctors on base.  No co-pays, no deductibles, etc.  For us (the family), we pay out of pocket until we reach the $300 family deductible and then standard care is free.  Procedures and hospitalizations and whatnot are 20% out of pocket for us. The pharmacy plan is very much like we have now.  And the kids and I can still use our current doctors, as they are in the Tri-Care network. Hooray!

And without premiums, we are saving right at $400 (pre-tax) a month; I'm estimating that's about $300 extra to my check (after taxes) each month!  So what if we have to meet the $300 deductible...that's still about 11 months (after tax) savings...or somewhere between $3000 and $4000 saved after taxes.


I could seriously find something good to do with $300/month. For now it will go to debt repayment.  Then to building a sturdy savings account.  After that?  Who knows?

I noted that if for some reason the care is terrible we would go back to my insurance next January (when they have open enrollment at work), but otherwise, this is the route we're going for now.

What would you do with an extra $300/month?

Monday, January 21, 2013

In Remembrance

Today many people are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by being off work, just as I am.  But there are many more (many of whom do not even fully appreciate it) who are celebrating today by living a life of freedom.  Many people today have liberties that were not afforded to their grandparents and great-grandparents thanks to the leadership of this man and many others like him.

Dr. King paved the way for equality to voices that were not previously heard. He just asked for the simple right to be treated equally to others who happened to be born of a different parentage and ethnicity. His work was courageous, Godly, and inspirational.  Some of his recorded quotes are as follows:

  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. 
  • A man who won't die for something is not fit to live. 
  • I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. 
  • Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. 
  • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. 
  • An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. 
  • In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. 
  • History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. 
  • Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. 
  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Amazing how his words still ring true today for so many.

Let us take a moment to remember all of those who have fought as well as those who are still fighting worldwide for the right to equality.  If you feel so inspired, find a voice that needs to be heard (the sick, the dying, the children, the hungry, the thirsty, the oppressed, the abused, the neglected, the afraid, the lonely, the elderly, the lost), and fight for them. Fight for those who do not have a voice.