Last year when I wrote about our Health Care issues,  I was seriously wondering what we (my husband and I) would do.  I had no idea that there was a way we could and would be able to pay for the health care under the new and revised plans available through the government marketplace.  Our  company premiums were prohibitive since the change and the coverages were not any better.  So we had no choice but to cancel our company policy and no longer provide health care to our employees.

But, in the end, we may be the only people you know of who are benefiting from the health care reform.  HEALTH2And for those who think no one has benefited, I will relate our story.

As I might have mentioned previously (Original Post) for the last 29 years we provided 100% healthcare to our employees, everyone qualified and everyone received it at “no cost” to them. Our company paid all of the premium. Not one employee had to pay one cent for their coverage and we always got the best plan we could afford to cover them. 

As the years rolled on, the economy tanked, our employee numbers tumbled, our average age increased, and our premiums increased  — we were only able to keep them in check by lessening the coverages overall, for everyone.  We got to the point we had $2500 deductibles, and that meant every cent of the first $2500 had to be paid before you were able to even do a co pay or have some help with your tests or medications.  It wasn’t ideal, it was the only way we could still provide 100% coverage without asking for a contribution from the employees.  None of my employees ever complained about their coverage, even though many of them went from amazingly great coverage to simply adequate coverage over the years.

So the decision was made and the company plan was cancelled.  Leaving everyone to fend for themselves.

My husband and I used the government marketplace to find a plan and also check to see if we were eligible for a subsidy.  We were!  We now both have coverage (because of our subsidy) that costs us a lot less than our coverage with the company plan.  The coverage we were able to obtain has a LOW deductible, LOW out of pocket costs, and pays for many standard things with 0% copay as long as you stay in network.   We might never had even had a plan this good in all the years of having a company plan — and our out of pocket costs are lots less than before.

I almost hesitated signing up.  I mean it was “too good to be true” and you know you should always be careful if something works out that way.  But we are now into that new coverage, I have had to use it and it has been amazing. 

If I told you the amount we have to pay – you too would be amazed!   The amount you pay and the plans you are offered are affected by many factors. The state and the county you live in, the amount of money you make, your ages and other factors all play into what type of subsidy you might get (not everyone qualifies).  We happen to hit the sweet spot in all the categories.  We are still not planning on making many Dr. visits this year — but at least we know – if we need to, we can afford to get just about anything done we need — as long as we make sure we stay in network. 

If you are out there wondering if you would benefit from this … there are rules and qualifications.  We had to cancel our company plan before we could even look into this as an alternative for us.  So if you have a plan available to you, even though you have to contribute to it, you won’t qualify.   If you make too much money, don’t have enough of an offset with dependents, etc. as well as other issues not mentioned here –  all of those things can affect your results…..  but if you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t hesitate to go check out your options.  You can do it on the government website without actually signing up — there are several “estimators” you can use to check what might be available to you.  And don’t forget to check to see if you qualify for a subsidy — for us it really worked out!

Disclosure: I was not paid by anyone to write this article. The information contained here reflects our personal experience and does not presume to know or be able to advise you on yours.

 
It always seems like when we need a Humidifier…we cannot find ours.  We know we have one, but exactly where we put it?  So the last time I really actually saw mine — it was at my son’s house, and they were using it, so now I am thinking we likely aren’t going to get that one back.  So I need a new one, and if you don’t have one, enter below!
 
 
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For the last few months, I had stopped shopping at Harris Teeter. I usually want to find a bargain and stretch our dollars as far as they will go…. and the deals – for me – were elsewhere. I always like to use up my pantry items too… so it was a slow shopping period overall.

Harris Teeter this week has what they call Super Double Coupons… where they will double up to a $2.00 coupon. Yes, that means that a $2.00 coupon will double to $4.00 off! No one else around here even doubles the $1.00 ones, so it’s usually a great “event” for me to participate in! There are limitations, and rules, of course — there always are!

But even I skipped the last two Super Double Events — because usually to make the best deals, the items need to be on sale (already reduced in price) and then the coupon matches and doubles — kind of like a double play. This week they are already out of some of their sale items, and if they are, I always ask for a rain check — hoping somewhere down the line to use them. Their rain checks as far as I know, don’t expire!

This week however I spent yesterday (the day I found out they were offering the Super Doubles) checking and looking through all my coupons. Reading what was on sale and checking with the sites on the web that list what’s on sale each week at the different supermarket chains. From reading all of that, I made my list and organized my coupons. The rules at Harris Teeter include the fact, that you can only use 3 of one type of regular coupon, or 2 of any internet printed coupons per trip, with a limit of 20 coupons per day. You can use more that won’t or can’t double, but the limit for doubling them is 20.

DSC03267Here’s what I was able to get –  (3) Bottles of Shampoo or Conditioner (Garnier Fructis), 6 cans of Iams Cat Food, 2 Star Kist Creations, 3 Think Thin Bars, 8 Packages of McCormick Taco Seasoning (this is the only one I have found that uses Potato Starch instead of CORN products… that’s important to me because I am allergic to corn), One InkJoy Pens, 6 Yakisobi Noodles, 3 Containers of Chock Full of Nuts Coffee and one can of Chicken of the Sea Tuna.   Can you guess how much my total was? 

DSC03270YES… that’s right, even with the tax, it was $3.89.  (.82 cents of which was tax!!).  I do have to add a caveat though…  I had a $5.00 credit applied to my Harris Teeter account from a previous error during my last shopping trip.  AND so, maybe because of that….  the cash register wouldn’t accept 2 of my coupons, and I think if it would have, I would have been about the same or less (there was one $2.00 and one $1.00) it just would not take them, and since I was very happy with the overall total, I didn’t press the issue (plus I can use those two tomorrow). 

I want to just say Thank You to Mary over at Sweepingme for encouraging me with all her great CVS shops! I really enjoy reading about her trips and seeing how she stretches her dollars!  I am planning on making a few trips to CVS myself to see if I can do as well!

 

 

Who isn’t thrilled that it’s almost Valentines Day? Only those without a special someone in their lives! So by way of celebration……. Welcome to the Cupid’s Arrow Target Gift Card Giveaway sponsored by Dictated and Segment and hosted by The Parenting Patch! February 14 is approaching fast. Valentine’s Day will be here and gone before you know. In celebration of the holiday love, how would you like [... read more]

 

If  just reading the title of this article makes you on edge,  and has you thinking about whether you could be, read on! I can tell you, although some like to sugar coat being a cheapskate, there are others that defy human understanding when it comes to the term.  I recently watched the “Extreme Cheapstakes” program on TV and had to turn it off because [... read more]

 

One of the things we really needed to do a while back was to refinance our commercial property.  Why?  Our current loan had a couple of years left, but the balance of the loan (because of the way the original one was set up) wasn’t taking down the balance of the loan at a fast enough rate.  And while we understand why it had to [... read more]

 

Our first blow was that our health care provider (the one we have for our company) sent us a letter saying they would keep the company insured, if instead of continuing in our current policy,  we renewed “early” at only a 4.76% increase in premium. Our current policy won’t be renewed when it expires next year (because it likely doesn’t comply with the government minimum [... read more]

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Today I started to write about those who pilfer recipes from sites and post them on their own sites as originals, or at the very least make NO mention of where the recipe or their idea originated.   Anyone who has ever shared an original recipe knows that can be very annoying -  to see it show up elsewhere after they spent the time, effort and [... read more]

 

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7″. Kindle Fire HD 7″ Giveaway     The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HD (US Only)   Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)   Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)   [... read more]

 

There are times when you know that you are just…. THE ODD WOMAN OUT. This weekend I had what I consider to be a unique opportunity – I won a giveaway sponsored by Duncan Hines® to be a guest of one of their bloggers at a unique and fun event at their headquarters. I entered for this on a blog — and while usually the [... read more]

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