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One Way Obamacare Hurts Self Employment

We’ve talked a few times about the pros and cons of Obamacare. This post isn’t to get people fired up or start political arguments, but I did run across a true life situation recently that certainly makes it look like Obamacare hurts self employment, at least on the small scale. One of my closest friends is a high school math teacher.  We’ll call her A. She is really good at being a teacher. However, like so many of us after years at a job, she is burned out. With all the regulations and state standards, she feels most of her time is spent trying to prepare for state testing instead of teaching young people skills that might actually benefit them in the long run. It’s especially painful for me because when I look at her, I see myself about three years ago when I was a shell of a person going through the motions to keep all the plates spinning. My Frugal Friend Now A and her husband, who is also a high school teacher,  are two of the most frugal people I know. They were probably the first landlords I met after we moved to Colorado. Back then all ...

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How To Dispute a Medical Bill

making sure medical bills are correct and how to dispute them if necessary

With the Affordable Care Act came many changes to covered medical services and access to care. While there are a million different opinions about the ACA or Obamacare, I think we can all agree that health care has not gotten any easier to understand. I work in health care and get surprised almost every week by some new twist in insurance billing and coverage. It’s important as a consumer to understand your insurance policy and know how to dispute a medical bill if errors were made. I got a refresher course recently when I had a doctor visit billed incorrectly, so I though I’d share my experience. What Is Covered with the ACA? If you have an ACA compliant plan (if you don’t, it probably got cancelled), there are several medical services that are covered without copays, co-insurance, or deductibles if you use a network provider. This applies to any policy, regardless of deductible. Some of these include: An Annual Physical- Includes screening tests appropriate for your age and risk factors, like mammograms, PSA tests, or diabetes and high blood pressure screenings. Immunizations Well Child Visits You can read the entire list at Healthcare.gov My “Free” Physical I went for ...

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Investing Your Health Savings Account in the Stock Market

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I have had a health savings account eligible insurance plan since they first became available. I love the triple tax advantages of the HSA. Pre-tax or tax deductible contributions   Money grows tax free   No taxes or penalties if money is withdrawn for approved health care spending   You can potentially never pay taxes on this money! Is that a great deal or what? Recently, though, we’ve decided to let our HSA dollars do even more for us. We’ve decided to invest our HSA in the stock market as a great way to improve our finances and here’s why. Low Interest Savings Account Currently our HSA is in a savings account. When we opened that account, I believe it earned 3% interest. Now it earns 0.19%. We made $2.94 in tax free money from our HSA last year. That’s enough to retire on, right? We Don’t Want to Spend Our HSA Money Anymore In past years, we have only put money into our HSA when we had a medical expense. Then we would withdraw it to pay the medical bill. Over the past couple of years, we’ve built up a little money, but not much because we wipe it ...

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Pros And Cons of Obamacare-Part II

Last week I shared my thoughts on some of the cons of the Affordable Care Act know more commonly as Obamacare. Today I want to discuss some of the good points of Obamacare. As many of my commenters pointed out, any change in a major system is met with criticism in the beginning. I guess time will tell if Obamacare will become a major game changer like Social Security or Medicare.  Pros of Obamacare   Improved Affordability for Many-If you read my post last week, you know I have a huge concern with the large Medicaid expansion for people who don’t work and have no desire to. That being said, for those who do work really hard but don’t make much money or don’t have an employer sponsored health plan, Obamacare rocks. If you make under the subsidy level (about $78,000 for a family of three) you get help paying your insurance premiums. I know I have many readers, self included, who do not qualify for a subsidy. They are not happy about insurance premiums going up. However, after years of working in health care for a lower socioeconomic area, I have seen good people who are trying really hard ...

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The Pros and Cons of Obamacare-Part I

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Unless you are fortunate enough to live on a secluded tropical island, you are probably aware of the new changes in health care in the US by way of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.  I wanted to wait a few weeks after the grand launch to see how things would shake out before offering my opinions. I don’t know that I can say one way or another if this plan is what our country needs to get healthcare under control, but I do see some positives and negatives with Obamacare. We’ll start with the bad first so we can finish on a good note! Cons   Cost- For most young  to middle age people who make more then 400% of the poverty level, your insurance premiums will go up because you won’t qualify for any subsidies. I fall into this category. For a family of three, the cutoff is about $78,000 per year. My current insurance policy has a $10,000 deductible and costs $190 a month for myself and our six year old. (Jim has a good plan at his job) We got a letter stating that our plan was “grandfathered in.” That means we don’t have ...

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