Personal Finance 
8
comments

How to Set FSA Amount

The last post on how to spend down your FSA was designed for folks who have just a few dollars left in their account. If you have a few hundred dollars left, you need to do more. You still have to spend it, because FSA balances are lost if you don’t spend it before the year ends, but you need to adjust your FSA amount down to more accurately reflect how much you need. It’s great to have that tax-free money to spend on medical supplies, as long as you need the medical supplies!

This is how we go about setting our FSA amounts.

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 Personal Finance 
20
comments

How to Spend Down Your FSA

Clever Cupcakes: Doctors, Nurses, and HospitalsWith the end of the year rapidly approaching, chances are you still have a few dollars left in your Flexible Spending Account (FSA), if you have one. The old backup solution is to stock up on over the counter supplies but that might not be the most effective use of your FSA dollars. OTC products are great as a backup, but there are a few things you should try to do before just buying a million bottles of Advil.

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 Insurance 
22
comments

Finding Affordable Self Employed Health Insurance

Red StethescopeWith the downturn and massive loss of jobs (unemployment stands at 9.7%), a lot of people are finding work as independent contractors. Some are finding contract work at fewer than full time. Others are simply seeing employers are now preferring to go with contractors to reduce expenses. Independent contractors don’t require benefits like health insurance, 401(k), vacation, or sick time.

One such person is reader Amanda, who recently emailed me to ask me about self-employed health insurance. I have done research on it in the past but with the current state of the economy, I think I should take a renewed look at self employed health insurance. So without further delay, how to find affordable self employed health insurance and then a brief discussion on why self employed health insurance is different.

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 Your Take 
60
comments

Your Take: Legalize Organ Trafficking?

Operation GameThere’s been a lot of buzz in the news lately on the issue of organ trafficking. While this CNN story wasn’t the first time I heard Nick Rosen’s story of selling a kidney for $20,000, it is certainly a sign that the discussion of selling organs is coming back into the spotlight.

The story of Rosen probably isn’t all that different from other people who have sold organs. They saw an ad, answered it, duped the hospital doing the transplant, and got paid. The difference was that he then bragged about it in a “documentary” about how easy it was to do (I say brag because the video supposedly has him lying on a bed covered in cash).

What do you think about organ trafficking? I’m against the idea. I believe someone should be able to sell an organ if they want to but I think that making organ trafficking legal opens up a whole host of legal, economic, and moral issues we can’t answer.

For example, if the market price of an organ is $20,000 then anyone who can’t possibly pay that amount would simply die. Any “rational” person, in the economic sense, who would freely donate a kidney to a stranger would now demand $20,000 because that’s the market price of a kidney. What if the person is mentally unstable? What if they aren’t considered emotionally fit enough to make the decision?

It just seems like once you put a price on something like that, you introduce a lot more headaches than you’re probably prepared to deal with.

What do you think?

(PHoto: myklroventine)


 Career 
28
comments

My Wife Quit Her Job

Quit quit quit!Yesterday, my wife quit her job of nearly four years in the middle of the worst economic recession in many many decades.

Wait, that’s probably not framed in the best way. How about this:

Yesterday, my wife quit her job of nearly four years to pursue a doctorate at the University of Maryland.

Better? :)

Either way, neither one of us has a “traditional” job. As such, we’ve had to make a few adjustments in our life for the period between when she left her job (yesterday) and when she’ll start graduate school.

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 Personal Finance 
146
comments

Buying Frontline Online

Frontline Plus Blue for DogsA few days ago I wrote about how we got a new dog and all the new dog expenses. One of the more regular expenses will be Frontline and I couldn’t resist a little bit of rhyming. :) Frontline is a product we’ll need to buy regularly for Toby and so the best option typically will be to buy it online.

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 Health Care 
14
comments

Negotiating Your Medical Bills

Hospital Vitals MonitorIf you have medical insurance, you should receive an Explanation of Benefits from your insurance company every time you visit a doctor. Have you ever looked at one? It’s amazing. You’ll see the how much the doctor billed you, how much the insurance company negotiated as an allowable rate, and the difference can be staggering. The catch-22 in all this is that if you don’t have insurance, you’d have to pay the standard rate unless you negotiated with the doctor… and negotiating with the white coat can be hard. Fortunately, it’s not as uncommon as you think, according to a New York Times article, and here are a few tips I’ve researched from the interwebs.

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 Insurance 
7
comments

Health Insurance Plan Types

Red StethescopeI’ve been doing some research to improve upon my “How to Get Independent Health Insurance” post, because 3.6 million people have lost their jobs in the last year-plus. I requested health insurance quotes through eHealthInsurance, which mainstream media absolutely loves (Kiplinger just named them one of 2008′s Best Sites for Health Insurance), and saw that plans from the same company varied greatly based on deductible, plan type, co-pays, etc. I think the concept of deductibles and co-pays are well understood, but what are these plan types?

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