Category: "General"

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01/22/12

  04:49:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1 words  
Categories: General

Technorati Update

01/01/12

  11:48:59 am, by The Dreamer   , 79 words  
Categories: General, Stuff

Happy New Year....the move is on

Well, its 2012....how will this new year go?

Not really off to a great start...but its time to tackle some changes.

The first is the transition off of my dashed & .net email domain, to my new .com one. &#59;D

The other hmmm, only been putting that one off for over a year now....and the provider I was going to go with has since gone away, which was unexpected...since it was Google. Guess I'll have to go with Microsoft.

12/25/11

  04:39:17 pm, by The Dreamer   , 386 words  
Categories: General, Home, Safety & Security, Healthcare

Merry Christmas ... Home Sweet Home.

Merry Christmas....

So, other than sleeping in past 11am...and a frantic search for work phone (turned out it was exactly where it was supposed to be, I had just put my Kindle on top of it last night.)

I remembered that there was one very important gift to give on Christmas Day. New batteries for my smoke detectors.

Even though one of them ran down early back in November...I replaced batteries in all 4 of them. With new batteries I had picked up a couple of weeks ago.

But, before I got to...I ended up hitting a few other chores that I needed to do, like laundry, dishes, and cleaning my CPAP stuff. (not in this order...)

Think my Intellipap AutoAdjust just might still have its original filters in place....so I swapped it for the pair of foam and white filters that came with it, threw out the white (which didn't look that bad, considering neglected white filters in my old CPAP would look pretty dark....perhaps time of year plays a part). Knew I had bought extras, looked around a bit...but couldn't find them, though I found a package with one remaining white filter for my old machine (as well as a packages with 24 or 30 new ones.) I had dug out the old machine on Friday to do a download, but had already put it back....so I had to dig it out again to replace its filters. I some how manage to keep losing foam filters now and then after I wash them. Probably because I leave them near room fan to dry, and when they become dry they take flight. Well, I have a few new ones...so that went into the old machine and I put it back in its travel bag.

Someday I should replace the hose in the travel bag....

I then took mask cushion and went to clean these items.

Not sure if I'll get to a laundry load today or tomorrow where I run headgear through. There was something else I was going to do this break laundry wise...not sure if I'll get to it now. That's wash my winter jacket. Perhaps I'll try to do that after the whites are done. And, leave colored and hand wash loads to tomorrow. Not sure if I'll do that other special load this weekend....

12/18/11

  12:51:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1268 words  
Categories: General, Hardware, Computer, Home, Appliances, Storage

Getting dry in my condo, cooler too.

Winter has been weird this year...but there's a winter storm alert finally? Though its the rain and snow kind with ice accumulation and inches of snow type. Just as long as it isn't another icepocalyse of 4 years ago.

Though seems interesting that the computer I bought to replace the one I lost during the icepocalyse, died on Friday. Almost as if it was designed to die after 4 years. Annoyed, because its orac, my backuppc/file server. There's 16 drives on the machine, a total raw storage of 23TB....though only about 11.5 usable TB. And, a whole lot less in TiBs.

I'm hoping its something simple though....was looking at the hardware monitor in the BIOS screen...where it reads out voltages...and the lower voltages are low....though are those from the supply or are those generated on the motherboard? Seemed to me that motherboard generates some of the values, but not sure what I'll do if that's the case.

Also seems odd that it died shortly after I turned on heat Friday morning. Anyways...I had been considering getting a new power supply for orac for other reasons, so I jumped over to Amazon and took the plunge to get a new one by Amazon Prime. I had also been meaning to upgrade the case fan on it orac....I mentioned this before....stock fan is 80mm, but there's holes for a bigger fan. I had/have some extra ones around, so I had tried those...except that my extras are too big...so not 120mm. So, I had looked at 92mm, and I did end up with one, but failed to notice that it wasn't a 3-pin fan. So, maybe I'll add one of those to.

So, cart is adding up...and I'm looking at items I have 'saved for later'....and well, new humidifier is among there. Its pretty expensive....~$88 Its an Essick Air Tower Humidifier, though its about the same price as what my old Essick Air unit...though thinking the tower form would work better with where I've been using the old one, plus the old one's fan has become the issue... Though I guess its only 2 years old. I wish I could find something like the humidifier I had back when I was in Medicine Hat....while it eventually got nasty inside, that thing worked well for years and wasn't that expensive as I recall. And, it was easy to fill too. Since, then...I guess the Essick Air is the first one that I got more than one season out of....two whole ones, in fact (though some debate as to how well near the end.) And, it did a good job too. Plus the tower I'm looking at, uses the same wicks as the old one...so I already have an extra set somewhere.

Though having an extra set of wicks isn't a requirement for what I get...though footprint and output are...and pretty much I think wick types are the only kind I'll consider now. And, brand isn't necessarily a requirement...though past experience with other brands has made me leary of others. Plus there's feature differences. Some do take less space, but only have one tank. But, I'm running this single humidifier to try to humidify my entire condo...so it does have to be big as well... But, have time before I have to complete the order...so reviewing all the results....wouldn't be so painful if amazon's search was so fuzzy. I'm searching for just "humidifier", and its showing me things like cribs, pillows, swaddles, bassinets, dehumidifiers, evaporator coolers, air purifiers, bottle brush, nipple cleaner, heaters, bonsai tree, air conditioners...though the cigar related humidifiers probably aren't out of line, though I don't really think they should be in the department I'm searching under. And, the further out...finding humidifiers becomes less and less likely, but sometimes there'll be one here and there....though I'm sure if they weren't so fuzzy, I wouldn't have 10x the results to wade through....though sometimes the result is way near the end. But, not this time.

Anyways...that's pretty much what should just be in my amazon cart. But, if I add a few more items, I can get 6-month do not pay on my Amazon card....and I've already put off getting the humidifier too long already.

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12/01/11

  04:27:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1531 words  
Categories: General, Digital Photography, Hardware, Computer, Travel, Networking, WiFi, BOINC, Safety & Security, b2evolution, Quicken/TurboTax

Cyberweek Activities

This being Cyberweek...I tried to cram some stuff in other than just recovery from Chicago Tardis into this week.

Though I haven't actually gotten to all the things yet...I felt that I should start this post before I forget all the things I wanted to cover. Too late :no:

Anyways...one of the important items was new CO detector. I used to have a First Alert CO400?, battery operated CO detector that took a couple AA batteries and didn't do much else. I was looking to buy something like it again, except reading the negative reviews on amazon.com... a number of other people were complaining that unit disintegrates when you try to change the batteries. Which is why I was needing to replace my old one. So, I decided that maybe I would look at a different brand this time around.

Also noted that these things have like a 5 year life expectancy...though my First Alert CO detector was only a year old. I noticed that Kidde CO detectors claim a 7 year life span (though only a 5 year warranty). Though (in part due to Amazon 'recommendations') I got the Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM, which has a digital display....showing current CO levels and historical levels, etc. Which I debated on whether I would want to know if there was a CO level, that wasn't alarming.

Don't know if I paid attention to the fact that it uses 3 AA batteries....one odd thing I've noticed, is that it doesn't say if I should replace batteries regularly....but I suspect it'll be part of the same routine with replacing smoke detector batteries.

Though I don't think I'll replace the CO batteries along with the smoke detector ones on December 25th (because of long DST, I had changed my bi-annual to be on or around June 25th and December 25th.) Though, I've already replaced the battery early in one of the smoke detectors. Odd, because there hadn't been any nuisance trips in some time...and it isn't one that is typically set off by these situations. (usually ones that nuisance trip is the detector in the living room [near the kitchen or the first bedroom from the kitchen. Yeah...something I'm burning on the stove or in the microwave is usually the cause.)

But, getting a new set of 4 9V batteries was something I got in my recent cyberweek purchasing...

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11/20/11

  02:00:17 pm, by The Dreamer   , 347 words  
Categories: General, Stuff, Amazon Kindle

Some other Kindle Fire related things

Just remembered there are two other things that I wanted to say relating to my Kindle Fire.

First, the touch sensitivity seems problematic for me....I've heard people complain that its too sensitive, for me its not sensitive enough...there are times I get stuck moving, because I really have to press for it to see that I am pressing the next button. OTOH, I'm having a lot of trouble with they keyboard...because it keeps trigger the wrong key next to what I've pressed. Wonder if the alignment is actually the problem?

Meanwhile...the Kindle Fire's keyboard is moving up another issue.

Most of my personal domainnames have .net, and where a domain extension is applicable, only .com is offered on the Kindle Fire's keyboard (doesn't do long press for some other extensions like the iPhone did.) Also my main email domain, is @chen-online.net...and the Kindle Fire's keyboard makes it extra hard to type the '-'...when it is showing the '.com' keyboard.

I had gotten this domain before I knew that lots of places consider domainnames with '-'s in them to be spam (though I didn't know there was also a rule against 12 letter domain names [spamassassin rule]....cursed that my parents' gave me an 8 letter name to go with a 4 letter surname...), and before there were smartphones/tablets where typing '-' or numbers presents extra challenges. And, last weekend, there was a service outage that affected most of my @chen-online.net email addresses. So, I've been thinking for a long time that I need to migrate my accounts over to another domain name (and perhaps find a email centric hosting provider...or leaving the domain with the registrar and use their email services). Seems the Kindle Fire is pushing this up in priority now....

Oh, there's a third annoyance. I emailed the link to an app to my Kindle fire a couple days ago, and it opened the browser and downloaded it and all was good. But, now every time I open the browser it downloads it again. And, can't make it stop...I've cleared cache, history, cookies, etc. It just downloaded it yet again.

11/10/11

  04:11:52 pm, by The Dreamer   , 881 words  
Categories: General, Wireless/iPhone, VoIP, WiFi, Safety & Security, Cox HSI, AT&T DSL, Broadband, Amazon Kindle

Cox Cable was a no show today....

This afternoon's tale starts on Tuesday, November 8th.

At about 9:30am, I get an email from Cox about Wednesday's EAS test for 2pm EST....shouldn't be a problem, won't be home and nothing should be recording then...

Then at about 11:30am, I start getting pages that my Cox connection (among other things) has gone away. Well, the other things were because without Cox...there's no DNS or NTP...so things that tested or depend on that also failed. Though monitoring from work just showed Cox down.... At least I still have DSL....tweak some stuff back to being DSL centric, and bounce my cable modem a few times.... I had switched away from being DSL centric after a recent significant DSL outage.

Eventually cable service comes back, and I think all is good. Though I don't notice that not everything in nagios has cleared. And, when I come home...I find that I still have no Cox internet service.

I turn on the TV to see if I'm at least getting a signal....but I only checked the channel that was default...didn't check further. I then get on with Cox to find out why my service is down.

Strange that I often have trouble right around bill due time. But, I use EasyPay, so they automatically get paid. And, this month the auto-pay date is November 9th. New bill came out around October 27th (in fact later when I got confirmation that they had processed the payment, that's what it said). Always interesting that they allow so little time between sending the bill to when it needs to get paid. Its probably to keep us from dropping services between getting the bill and paying it. Like dropping Movie Pak....a while back they moved BBC America to the Movie Pak, so I had to add that to my service quickly....but sometime later they moved it back to the Variety Pak...so I should probably drop the Movie Pak...but I never seem to get around to it. I don't watch anything else in the Movie Pak (but at least I do from the Variety Pak.)

But, I check and account is current. I also got alert from bank of the pending charge too.

So, I get on with Cox support to find out what's up or not....and after they get my account information, come back saying a technician call is needed and say the earliest is Thursday between 1-3pm. Ok...then I'm asked if there's anything else, and I'm disconnected.

Seems like that's one way to avoid the National EAS test....

I had turned the cable modem on and off a few times, with longer off times, and checked connections and such...to no luck, but couldn't recall if I left it on or off overnight. When I get up...there's still no Cox Internet service. I restart the cable modem, and presto...I have service.

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11/03/11

  10:16:49 pm, by The Dreamer   , 178 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

Eyeglass Prescription Nov 3, 2011

Today I had my latest eye exam....

Updating the progression of prescriptions:

2003: OD -5.00 -1.00 075 OS -8.00
2005: OD -4.25 -1.00 080 OS -7.00 -0.75 045
2006: OD -4.50 -1.00 055 OS -6.50 -1.00 035
2008: OD -5.25 -1.00 060 OS -7.25 -1.00 025
2009: OD -5.00 -0.50 050 OS -7.00 -1.25 030
2010: OD -5.50 -0.75 050 +1.25 OS -7.00 -1.00 040 +1.25
2011: OD -5.50 -0.75 050 +1.50 OS -7.00 -1.00 040 +1.50

Now I'm conflicted...do I get a new pair of glasses this year, to make use of this year's vision insurance benefit. Or wait until next year...where I'll have next year's vision benefit and FSA money available. Or both.

Been thinking sunglasses, the slight change in reading power would make more sense in regular pair....but regular pair is currently fine, though could probably use a spare. Except that again...new pair being slight new script would not be the spare.

Could go new lenses I suppose....and then sunglasses next year?

:hmm:

Probably won't be in a position to decide if there's going to be anything this year until like near Christmas....

Full story »

10/28/11

  11:37:01 am, by The Dreamer   , 331 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

Sleep Apnea disqualifies you from being a bone marrow donor?

Somebody pointed out that having Sleep Apnea disqualifies you from joining/staying in the National Bone Marrow Registry.

Even though they say 80% of marrow donations are done using an apheresis (think plasma or platelet donations)....

The explanation is:

Patient and donor safety is our top priority. Donor guidelines are developed by our Donor and Patient Safety Monitoring Committee. The committee is made up of medical directors from NMDP donor, transplant, apheresis and collection centers, a donor and a patient.

The primary risk associated with sleep apnea is related to marrow collection, which is a surgical procedure. Registry members must be able to donate either marrow or peripheral blood stem cells, depending on the needs of the patient.

Regulating anesthesia is more difficult in patients with breathing. After surgery, marrow donors may require narcotic pain medication, which can further depress breathing. In patients with sleep apnea, even a small amount of anesthetic sedation can cause decreased airflow.

Despite the risk, some registry members express their willingness to assume the risk in order to help a patient. While the NMDP appreciates the courage and compassion that motivates them, it would be unethical for the NMDP to allow donors to do so.

To learn about other way to help patients and their families, visit http://www.marrow.org/HELP/index.html?src=tabinvolved

Of course, the explanation then raises the question of other disorders, such as narcolepsy and/or idiopathic hypersomnia....who also can respond differently to anesthetic or pain meds.

Regarding your questions about narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia disqualifying a donor, it would best be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine the extent to which it affected breathing, and what impact it might have on the ability to donate.

So, there you have it...if you have sleep apnea, they tell you to go away... But, if you have some other condition of similar or greater risk...they'll let you in....because not waking up from anesthetic is okay if you keep breathing?

Though one also wonders if they fully understand what sleep apnea can be?

10/08/11

  12:42:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 2750 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

QHDHP, HSA and Chronic conditions

This month is annual open enrollment at work....time to review plan changes and make selections for January 1st, 2012. This year, premiums have jumped up a lot...particularly for single people. The implication is that for the last few years, they had drifted from the mandate that employer pays 95/55 of the health insurance costs (95% of single, 55% of family). Guess that means they had been paying more than 95% of my cost? Because my BCBS Plan A premium jumped by 44%. Plus every 3 years they renegotiate plans...and this was the year they did that.

Other than the premium jump...which was much greater compared to previous years (which hadn't jumped up as much as I had seen with previous employers). There were only a few changes this year.

The coverage on the 3 plans (A, B, C) have all stayed the same. All plans are PPO, Plan A has a 20% co-insurance rate versus 35% co-insurance rate for Plan B (in-network, all are 50% for out-of-network)...and Plan A has higher co-payments than Plan B...and higher deductible. New next year, is that BCBS will be offering Plan C (QHDHP). Other changes, is that Coventry and PHS have now merged, and United Health Care is now the 3rd provider option (though technically there were 4 provider choices last year, with addition of UMR... a sister company of UHC, but with a smaller network...and Coventry and PHS not yet merged.)

When I first started, they were HMO, PPO, QHDHP plans....and I had gone with PPO, even though all my providers were in network. When I had first moved to the US, I had started on an HMO plan...and it was bad. Like the time I went out of my way to go to what was supposed to be a Quest collection site for labwork, instead of letting my doctor do the labwork on site. And, end up getting fully charged for using an out of network lab, because the site had cancelled its contract with Quest the week before (but I had called Quest the morning of the test...so they shouldn't have misled me)....I complained, they apologized....but I never got the refund they said they would do.

Using Quest was only part of the HMO plan, so switching to PPO was good. Though later things changes to where if the practice where your primary has their own lab, the lab is automatically considered as in-network....so there was further savings, but I stayed with PPO because. Later they brought Quest in for PPO with some providers....I just picked the PPO provider that didn't use Quest.

Anyways....in my current job...Quest had jumped into the plans....though its optional. And, the Quest collection site isn't anywhere that can be reached on foot (and I'm kind of down to just the one foot now)...and the doctors in my area won't participate with Quest. At first it was part of the HMO, later it extended to Plan A & Plan B (since all 3 plans are PPO now). But, its still optional, and the labs that my doctors do use are in-network.

When I started, I went with BCBS....because I hadn't established relationships with local doctors, but BCBS had the larger network...both in state and out of state, and with relatives scattered around the country/world....access to a large out of state network was important. Plus now that I also attend conferences, conventions and such...it is hopefully less of a worry.

But, when they switched from HMO, PPO, QHDHP to the Plan A, B, C naming....I switched to Plan A. Which was at first explained as the HMO plan with PPO features. But, now they just say all 3 are PPO plans....just different cost structures.

I never really considered the QHDHP option...because I never really understood FSA/HSAs in the beginning....wasn't until 2009 that I started using an FSA. And, the steep deductible scared me (still is scary). Though one thing that intrigued me at this job, was that the prescription plan on the QHDHP/Plan C option was different from the HMO/PPO/Plan A&B one. The A&B plan was co-insurance, no deductible...the typical 3 tiers with some extras classes. When I started, it wasn't an issue...since most of the stuff I took was either generic or preferred brand (well, when I first moved to Kansas I was on Prevacid, which wasn't a preferred brand....but primary switched me back down to Prilosec which is generic. Though can't help wonder if my health taking its turn for the worse didn't start when that change was made...and now that Prevacid is available as generic....:hmm:) Anyways...Plan C's prescription plan was co-pays after deductible, which was the kind of prescription coverage I bad before I came here. Not always a good thing though...since $10 co-pay for generic.. where as I have a couple of generics where the 20% co-insurance is less...some generics I've had fill come out to $0.92, $2.02, $3.53, $1.58, $1.39....on the other hand...the co-insurance on branded meds were costing me much more than co-pay....and the worse ones were yet to come.

So, in open enrollment 2008 (for 2009), I decided that it was time to see what all this FSA business was about. I went with a minimal contribution....$300 for the year. Well, I didn't know at the time, that combined with the results of my first 'free' Healthquest screening from work and my annual physical (Well Man Exam) that I'm not supposed to be sleepy all the time, have experience that surge in weight gain during the summer, fall asleep easily during the day, including at least one uncontrolled nap each day.... I just knew that in 2009, co-insurance was change from 10% to 20%, and co-pays were going up.... But, I had my first sleep study in December 2008. I got initial setup that month...so 10% co-insurance versus 20% was a good thing, plus deductible was less, and already met, in 2008 than in 2009.

But, because of the OSA dx, I quickly met my deductible (which had gone from $50 to $150) and spent my entire FSA amount in the first week of 2009.

So, in open enrollment 2009, I decided that I should put more into FSA....but I didn't expect that I would have the same kind of major expenses that I had, so I increased my amount to only $1200. This was even though I had an accident in august of 2009, and it had cost me quite a bit. But, it was the accident that kept on giving....When I got my teeth cleaned in Jan 2010, it was discovered that I had cracked some teeth in the accident....so the $1200 was gone in a couple of months.

Meanwhile...in 2010, I was introduced to Provigil and Lunesta. The co-insurance on Provigil was about $380 a month, and Lunesta was about $112 a month. Plus then I had an accident in November of 2010, and another sleep study in December. What I discovered though was what happens when I hit my co-insurance maximum for 2010. I still have to pay co-pays...but after than everything is covered in full. While reading over the plans on co-insurance maximum, I saw that the prescription plan had a separate co-insurance max of $2850. I wasn't going to reach it in 2010, with the Provigil costs....and Lunesta didn't count towards it (even though they said if you had tried two other prescriptions before it, they would...which I had....they did require my pharmacist to call in to get permission to fill it, even though they would already know that I had been on prescribed 3 different ones before it. Though I guess 2 of them were off-label? Though the PDL only lists one drug for the class, which I had been on, and only generics...they have no preferred brand.) Provigil is also alone, as the preferred brand....though it is quite different than the other types of stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Dex, etc.)

So, in open enrollment 2010, I considered switching to Plan C. They still keep telling everybody that Plan C/QHDHP is only for super healthy people. But, because of the co-pay structure of the prescription plan (after deductible)...I wondered if it might not be the better way to go.... It would take 1.5 months worth of Provigil to meet the deductible..and then I would only have to pay a $30 co-pay. Maybe sooner, depending on what else happened at the start of the year. I didn't know I was going to break my foot in November 2010. What I did find out was that one of my meds was capped at $20 a month (Singulair), where as it would be $30 co-pay with Plan C. The Plan C prescription plan didn't have the specialty tiers for things like diabetes, asthma, anti-cancer.... and it wasn't like I was on Xyrem or something super expensive. Though I had looked, and Xyrem is on the list of specialty meds, so its a $75 co-pay.

But, I had missed the open enrollment presentation (because I had gone to the NN Conference) and I didn't have a lot of answers on why they only consider Plan C for super healthy types....and not somebody like me.

The other problem is that with an FSA I can spend all the money I plan to put into it before the money is actually in it. While with an HSA, the money needs to be there first. They did say the first year is the hardest.... So, running out of time, I quickly locked in my discount status, staying with Plan A & BCBS and other stuff...and went with putting the out-of-pocket maximum of Plan C into my FSA (which is less than the current maximum that I could put into an FSA.) I had skimmed the networks of the other providers...to see if my current doctors were in, and whether they offered any other choices that BCBS didn't....

Well, I spent all my FSA for this year in about 4.5 months...and only because I switched to only submitting the bigger claims after I got my tax refund.... Though this year the the deductible did feel more painful. It had gone from $150 to $300...but I also didn't have the big expenses early in the year...so it was a bunch of little things where I had to pay the full discounted amount... Not sure where I stand on reaching co-insurance max this year for health ($1400)....

Had I still been on Provigil...I would've reached co-insurance max on the prescription plan around July...but as I had been warned at the NN Conference, I would build tolerance to it...and it stopped working in spring time.....where I was then switched to Ritalin.... And, I quickly built tolerance to that....so at the end of August I was switched to Nuvigil....which seems to be working better, and apparently its the other isomer that is in Provigil that we build tolerance to. I briefly tried Provigil again between refills, and it did little for me.

Problem with Nuvigil though is that its the non-preferred brand...so it doesn't count towards my co-insurance max....though I'm about $1000 away, so I probably won't hit it this year....even if I could've gotten the override (having tried Provigil and Ritalin before, should've met the tried two other drugs from the PDL first....also the co-pay coupon from Cephelon apparently doesn't work. Just as the co-pay coupon for Lunesta didn't work. They both say they won't work with plans that are state/federal government funded....so no discount for us poor state employees).

The other change this year is the prescription plan for Plan C has changed...its more like the Plan A&B one, except adjusted to fit the QHDHP. So instead of co-pays after deductible and continuing after out of pocket max is reached. It is just co-insurance after deductible and then 100% when out of pocket max is reached. And, tier 3 drugs count towards the out of pocket max (as do drugs on the anti-cancer tier).... Also with Plan C, there's no co-pays to see doctors....so once out of pocket max it reached....they're covered 100% in full. Didn't seem a huge deal before 2010...because PCP and sleep doctor were in the same medical home, so $25 co-pay for either....the only specialist where I had to pay $45 co-pays were related to physical therapy...and I didn't do that this year (though wonder if maybe it would help my walking issues since broken foot incident....maybe next year if things continue to worsen...)

Given how quickly my FSA went this year, and my current projected expenses (and the changes this year)....it shouldn't be that hard to reach the $1500 deductible or the $3000 out of pocket max in 2012...so it'll be interesting to see what it is like to have things covered 100% in full after that point. Especially since the current co-insurance on Nuvigil + Lunesta x 12 is more than the out of pocket max. I had considered asking about Nuvigil sooner, because paying 60% of it (non-preferred brand)...instead of 35% for preferred brand)....is about half the 35% I pay for Provigil. But, when the Provigil stopped working, doctor wanted to try Ritalin instead first....which did work in the beginning....but it didn't seem to matter to insurance on when I did get to be on Nuvigil. I decided that I would more strongly consider the switch to Plan C.

The fact that BCBS offered it was certainly a big factor, since I had concerns over network last year. And, during an open enrollment presentation..somebody asked why Plan C didn't work even if they hit the out of pocket max in the year (and all the money they put into the HSA)...

for an individual/in-network
Plan A has $300 deductible + $1400 co-insurance max & Rx has $2850 co-insurance max (where tier 3 doesn't count towards it)
Plan B has $150 deductible + $3000 co-insurance max & Rx has $2850 co-insurance max (where tier 3 doesn't count towards it)
Plan C has $1500 deductible -> $3000 out of pocket max & Rx works with the same deductible/out of pocket max (and tier 3 counts).

So sounds like if you know you're going to be out of pocket more than $3000 in a year...plan C is the way to go.

Plus with Plan A & B, the co-pays continue after the co-insurance max is hit. Plan A is $25 (Primary/Urgent Care), $45 (Specialist) and $100 (ER). Plan B is $20 (Primary), $25 (Urgent Care), $40 (Specialist) and $100 (ER)....there's an advantage for families, where co-pay for children is $10 (Primary) or $25 (Specialist)....

In addition to no co-pays with Plan C (versus Plan A)....there are two other differences, the Manipulation Therapy (IE: Chiropractor) is reduced to max of 26 per year (from 30). And the Durable Medical Equipment maximum is lowered to $1000/year (from $5000/year).

Since I just got a new CPAP machine this year, I don't anticipate my DME expenses to be more than $1000...in fact the new machine plus supplies this year shouldn't break the $1000 mark. But, who knows what the future holds.

So, since United Health Care is a new provider this year....I started to think that I should check out its network as to whether to stay with BCBS or not. In the first open enrollment presentation, I didn't stay for the HSA presentation. Because I was at first thinking that I would stay with Plan A, and this time put the $5000 max into FSA....before healthcare reform lowers the max to $2500. But, in the time between the morning presentation and the afternoon one, I started the research on Plan C/HDHP/HSAs, etc. And, decided I wanted to hear the HSA presentation.

Fortunately, they did that one first in the afternoon session.

So, I instead looked at the HSAs associated with the 3 providers....and decided that BCBS would be who I would go with.

The BCBS HSA has a maintenance fee that falls between the other two (close to the low end, where the high end one is significantly higher...and the one for UHC). The interest rate structures differed, but all were insignificant for low balances. The other two, offer maintenance fee elimination with a minimum balance. The lower one waives off at $3000, the higher one waives off at $5000....there's differences in investment options and additional fees. BCBS HSA has a lot less in the additional fees area. And, what investment options it offered seemed ok.

But, given that I'm expecting to hit out-of-pocket max (which is the contribution max for the HSA)....how much the HSA will cost for little or no balance weighed in. Though I will probably build some of my HSA over time...since initial expenses will be before the HSA is sufficiently funded, and I may or may not chose to use HSA funds to meet all my later out of pocket expenses.

On the additional side, I opted to go with $600 for a limited use FSA (Dental and Vision....I have one dental related prescription, and I anticipate the buying a new pair of glasses every year to be a trend that continues indefinitely.) I kept my Vision insurance.

Now to see how 2012 goes....

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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