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A List Of My Health Care Expenses So Far This Year – Yikes!

February 1, 2012 · 15 comments

in Health & Fitness, Personal Finance

Well, this year is turning out to be an expensive one, and we still have a long way to go.

Here is a list of some of my expenses for the year that I will be forced to pay soon, or have recently paid:

ACL surgery:  $5,000 (that is our family’s health insurance deductible for the year)

Ice machine rental for knee recovery:  $300

Physical Therapy co-pay:  $480 (estimate)

Miscellaneous surgery related purchases:  $200

Braces for my youngest son:  $4200

College deposit for oldest son:  $200

Grand Total:  $10,380.

Ten grand is a lot of money to come up with all at once!

How I Plan To Pay For My Expenses

Well, the max we could save in our Health Savings Account (HSA) is around $6,000.  However, that will not accumulate in time for me to pay my bills.  The plan was to use that money for braces, but since I ended up having ACL surgery, we won’t have enough in our account to cover all the expenses.  However, we did have $2700 in our Health Savings Account that rolled over from 2010.  So, overall we will have $8700 to put toward our expenses this year.  But, we will have to pay some up front and get reimbursed throughout the year as the balance in our HSA accumulates.

In addition, I have spoken with our orthodontist, who will give us a 7 percent discount on the my son’s braces if we pay with a check, but they are going to allow us to pay half this year and half next year, which is actually what brought our bill down to $4200.

So, in the next month, I estimate I will have to pay about $8200 in medical expenses, and I will have about $3200 total in the HSA to help cover the bills.  So, I will have to pay $5000 from our ‘general fund’ to pay the balance. Ironically, that is about how much I will have accumulated in the HSA at the end of the year.  That means that all the rest of our medical and dental expenses for the year will have to be paid outside the HSA.

The Lesson?

I have said this a million times, but this is yet another example of why it is so important to have an emergency fund in place.  (Or savings, whatever you want to call it.)  When medical expenses come up, the last thing you want to worry about is how you are going to pay for it.  It is much better when the financial aspect is more of a nuisance than a stressor and you can just focus on recovery instead.

Also, if you are able to participate in a Health Savings Account, really think about how much money you want to put into it each year.  When in doubt, err on the side of over ‘investing’, since the money can roll over each year.  (This is NOT true for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), you must spend the balance during the same year it is saved.)  I am so glad I had some money left over from the previous year that can be used for our expenses this year!

So readers, have you been happy with your Health Savings Accounts?

 

 

 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Little House February 1, 2012 at 9:54 am

Yikes! That is a lot in medical expenses. Good thing you have an HSA to pull from and an Emergency Fund. I think medical expenses are a top reason people get into financial trouble; they’re usually unexpected and expensive! More reason to save money.

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Don February 1, 2012 at 11:59 am

Wow, that is a whammy of expenses for 1 month! Hopefully the rest of the year will be no surprises!

As for my HSA, I like it, but I find that I don’t go to the doctor as much as I should… I almost didn’t go with it this year.

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First Gen American February 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

It’s pretty scary that this is what someone can pay out of pocket that has “good” benefits and a relatively healthy family unit. I cannot imagine what it would be like if a family had a major medical problem or a person with a life threatening illness.

Luckily, you are responsible with your planning and saving, so instead of it being an emergency it is a planned expense.

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The Biz of Life February 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Kris, Hope your recovery will be as quick as it can be. The problem with FSAs is the unpredictability of what will be spent on healthcare each year. Last year we over-contributed and couldn’t spend it all after a heavy year of medical expenses in 2010. This year hopefully we will come close to the right number.

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Lola February 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm

That really is kinda discouraging to see all at once! On the positive side, however, you’ve done very well to have the emergency fund to cover the initial outlay (and you will eventually recoup the other $5,000 as you contribute to the HSA). On the really optimistic side, maybe no one in the family will get sick the rest of the year!

I’m also impressed with your negotiations with the orthodontist. But I have to ask – do braces cost $8,400 now??? (or is it $8,700, factoring back in your 7% discount? And is that with dental insurance???)

My employer pays for the employee’s basic health insurance. I get a wellness credit of $600 per year to apply to routine checkups/lab work/flu shot/ etc. I have a Health Reimbursement Account – my employer deposits $1,500 in the account, and if I complete a wellness assessment each year (which requires getting a flu shot, going for a checkup, having the workup for cholersterol, iron, blood sugar, etc. – all of which is covered in the wellness credit), I can rollover any amount not used in the HRA at the end of the year. I can also allocate money to a FSA, but so far, I’ve been humming along with the HRA. I’ve had a couple of procedures over the past 6 years, and everything was covered by the HRA. I really like this system!

As Biz mentioned, however, there’s a lot of unpredictability in healthcare. If I were to be injured in an accident (the ultimate in unpredictable!), my HRA would be gone in a flash, even with a couple years of storing up. So, again, gotta keep an emergency fund!

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Crystal February 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Mr. BFS and I have a very basic health insurance plan now, so we are just keeping lots of cash in reserve to cover the maximum out of pocket each year ($9000). We’ll be paying dental out of pocket as well.
Sorry this has started out as a very expensive year. Here is to a happy and cheap February!

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Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog February 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I dont stop by here enough! I didnt even know you had surgery, but i’m glad that everything went ok – on the bright side, your expenses will at least allow you a tax deduction for 2012!

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Thomas - Ways to Invest Money February 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

Wow thats a lot to have to come out of the pocket any time of the year let alone soon at the year begins. This looks like my chiropractor luckily for me my insurance only had to pay 60% of it. I don’t know how it works and if doctors just charge way more then they should but my insurance got my amount cut. I remember when I torn my Achilles would have rather broken a bone. My wife’s company insurance covers alot.

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Paul February 2, 2012 at 11:22 am

Kris,

As an Aflac agent a lot of our policies allow policy holders to pay their deductible. Almost all of our policies can be purchased directly from an Aflac agent. The way to get a thirty to forty percent discount is to get an Aflac agent like myself, phone number 586.321.7376 in Michigan, to come into your place of work and set up a workplace account. Buying as a group saves you money and doesn’t cost the employer anything!!! Talk about a win/win situation for everyone.

Paul

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Thad P @ thadthoughts.com February 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Wow! That’s a lot for so early in the year. I tore my ACL in 2005. The surgery was really not the hard part; that was the therapy. How are you doing? Do your therapy!

The company I work for has a service that might help be of interest to you. Called Kare360, it can help you work through those out of pocket expenses (email me if you want more information or just google it).

Hang in there.

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Thanks Thad! I am doing great! I am three weeks out and just walked a mile on the treadmill. (That may not seem like much to some people, but it was very exciting for me!)

How is your knee after all these years? My 2002 reconstruction is still holding up quite well.

I will look into the Kare360, thank you!

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kara February 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

I am extremely grateful for my HSA. I started mine about this time last year when my contract company switched up our health insurance. They provide very basic health and dental coverage, but nothing on the level of what a full time employee would get.

This year I broke a tooth and had to have my first ever root canal and crown. Because of the extensive damage to the tooth, it’s nearly a full replacement that will wind up costing me nearly $4500 up front. I’ll get reimbursed about 40% of that thru the dental insurance. If I hadn’t started my HSA, I can guarantee I wouldn’t have had that money available and would have had to walk around with a hole in my mouth for a long time. As it is, I’d only socked away about $2500 in the HSA and will have to pull the rest from my savings or hope to get some of my reimbursement back before my next series of appointments. It’s definitely made me realize that I need to increase my HSA contributions for this year.

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Anabelle @ CashAdvances US April 9, 2012 at 1:55 am

Well, if you fall into the category of folks who have to pay their own way in the health insurance world, it will be in your best interest to group any expensive procedures into a single year, if you can. In fact, you can only deduct the portion of your out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, which is the number at the bottom of the front page of your 1040 tax form. Health insurance premiums can be counted toward that 7.5%. A long list of expenses also can be deducted, including many over-the-counter medications and optional surgical procedures, like laser eye surgery to correct vision.

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knee surgeons June 12, 2012 at 2:43 am

The GT is really very high! I think the basic cost of living is rising up continuously and further costs are running after it so we have to pay much and interesting but painful true is the medical charge is so high that it increases our heartbeat what is more dangerous. Anyway, good luck and try to keep well so that no needs to go for check-up ;) .
knee surgeons recently posted..Dynamic

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