Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When The Chips Are Down

In a time of crisis, you really do learn who you can count on.  I've got close friends and family members that I can turn to, but the Husband's family?  Not so much.

Last week, I asked my FIL if he could contact the Husband's brother, Dbag, to see if Dbag would call and talk with the Husband.  Dbag is one of the people that the Husband doesn't remember, but he was hoping that if he and Dbag could talk, that maybe it would help trigger some memories.  As the Husband says, "I don't really know what I remember and what I don't".  Dbag, however, told FIL that right now, he can't say yes, and he can't say no to talking to his brother.  Dbag still has some misplaced anger towards the Husband, in regards to a situation with my crazy MIL, that the Husband really had no part of.  Also, Dbag is essentially an asshat, and thinks only of himself.

Yesterday, the Husband and I went to see his primary care doctor.  The doctor said that yes, the Husband has had a concussion, but we're not sure of the severity.  We go for an MRI today to see if there was a brain-bleed or if there's still any swelling of the brain.  Soon, the Husband will begin outpatient therapy to retrain his brain, to regain his balance and stability. 

As far as the memory loss, we don't know if the Husband will ever recover.  Some people do get their memory back, others don't.  I have a lot of anger towards my in-laws right now, especially my BIL Dbag, and my MIL.  They have caused the Husband a lot of  stress and heartache and pain in the past, and I can't help but feel that if he never remembers them, maybe it's not all so bad.  I have to say that as far as my FIL goes, he has his good moments.  He's told us that he can take the Husband to the doctor if I have to work, can watch Chickenhead whenever we need him to.  FIL can be a selfish, clueless moron at times, but considering the rest of the Husband's family, he's not all bad.

Here's hoping that things go well today with the MRI.  I'm hoping that I have a chance to get some crafting done today and again this weekend, and I'm hoping I can post a couple of tutorials here soon!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What A Difference A Day Makes

As I was sitting at my desk at LOB this afternoon, my phone rang.  I was surprised to hear HR rep on the other end.  I had emailed him on Friday, basically giving him a good sized chunk of my mind.  Since I didn't receive any word from him, I sort of figured that my words had fallen on deaf ears.

So when I answered the phone and HR identified himself, I was nervous. Imagine my complete and total surprise when HR told me that LOB wanted to make my situation right and move our family back to the PPO plan we had been on!  It will involve some pretty detailed stuff which I won't discuss here, but long story short, we will be able to afford our health care again!

This bit of good news couldn't come at a better time.  I thought the Husband was recovering from his fall fairly well, but yesterday, I was proven wrong. 

We were going over to my FIL's house, Grump Manor, to see our niece.  The Husband said he was fine to drive, and away we went!  Straight past the street we needed to turn on.  I wasn't too concerned at first, I thought maybe the Husband wanted to gas up the van or grab a pack of smokes.  He kept on driving, though, so I asked, 'hey, where are we going?'  He said he was getting ready to ask me the same thing.  He had forgotten how to get to Grump Manor.

I finally got us turned around and hoped that maybe once we got there and got inside the house, Husband would be fine. Only he wasn't.  He didn't recognize the house at all.  Didn't recognize his father or grandfather and saddest of all, didn't recognize our niece.  The Husband knows me and he knows Chickenhead, and knows stuff like our birthdates, and our address.  But he doesn't remember his mom (I could be snarky and say no great loss but I'll  hold back), he doesn't remember his brother, and can name only one of our nephews. 

I think when he fell, the Husband must have hit his head much harder than what we thought.  I'm pretty pissed off that the hospital didn't find anything on the CT scan, but maybe there wasn't anything to see.  I'm going to get him in with a neurologist as soon as I can so that they can treat whatever brain swelling he has.  What scares me the most is the thought that this may not be temporary.  This could be permanent and I don't want this for my husband. 

So if you have any extra mojo, good juju, happy thoughts, sunbeams or even prayers, I'll take 'em.  Because right now, we need everything we can get!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Insurance Hell

I was struggling to come up with a title for this post, because how can I even begin to describe this nightmare we are now dealing with?  Turns out all it took was two words to sum it all up.

Our story so far-  My employer, Locally Owned Bank (LOB), had their benefits re-enrollment this past November, like most companies.  My insurance provider (rhymes with Poo-nited Wealthbear), was offering for the first time, a high-deductible health care plan or HDHC.  On the surface, the benefits of the HDHC look pretty good: my portion of the premium would be half of what was normally deducted from my paycheck.  Also, to participate in the plan, you had to enroll in a Health Savings Account, or HSA, which LOB (since they're a bank and all) generously offered to open for their employees.  The HSA looked pretty darn attractive.  In addition to what was deducted from my pre-tax pay, LOB also contributed money to the account.  Also, an HSA rolls over the money at the end of the calendar year.  Unlike the old Flex Spending Accounts (FSA, I'm getting tired of all of this alphabet crap), there's no 'use it or lose it' penalty.  The HSA just keeps building and building. 

Despite how good all of this sounded, I still had questions for LOB and Poo-nited.
  My question for LOB- "How would this plan benefit me over the traditional PPO plan?"
 LOB benefit flunkie's actual answer- "Well, you'll just have to crunch the numbers and find out"
Me- "What numbers would those be?"
LOB- "Um, your healthcare costs"

Thanks for that LOB.  So later that night at home, I read over all of the info, watched the videos and 'crunched the numbers'.  I had nothing from LOB or Poo-nited to show me what the actual costs of doctor's office visits or prescription costs would be, so I calculated our expenses using our current PPO co-pays, because that's what I had to go on.  Were these co-pays going to be the same as what I was paying on the PPO, or more or less?  I decided to ask Poo-nited to clarify.

The next day, I went back to the conference from where the 'benefits fair' was being held.  The rep from Poo-nited was sitting alone at her table.  Now, this was back in November, so at this point, I can not tell you Poo-nited's rep's name, or even what she looked like.

 I asked Poo-nited rep-  "Under the HDHC plan, do my co-pays for doctor office visits or prescriptions change?" 
Poo-nited rep- "No, the co-pays do not change"

Woo-hoo! Because I was told that the co-pays do not change, I signed us up for the new HDHC plan.
Cut to January 1, 2013.  The HSA plan has $0 in it.  This was a shock, because from everything I had read on HSA accounts, at least the employer's contribution for the year would be in the account as 'seed money'.  In the traditional FSA accounts, ALL of the money from employee's pre-tax contribution is there at the beginning of the year, and then deducted from each paycheck as usual. Red flag #1.

On January 14, The Husband had to go for his monthly doctor visit.  He had to give the doctor's office our new HSA account info, but tell them not to run the charge until the next day, because there was $0 in the account.  Nice.  Then he gets to the pharmacy.  One of his scrips normally has a co-pay of $50.  So imagine his surprise when the pharmacist tells him that his cost today is $320! HUH??!!  The husband was in a panic when he called me at work, and needless to say, I was surprised too.

I called LOB HR the next day.  I told HR that Poo-nited had said that the co-pays don't change.  HR said that Poo-nited told me wrong, because this plan has no co-pays.  Everything, including prescriptions, goes towards the deductible, which is $4k. I asked HR (and jinxed the Husband) by asking if  I had a hospital bill for say $6k, would we have met the deductible?  LOB HR tells me "yes, then you have met the deductible".  But no, that's WRONG. Yep, we have to pay four thousand dollars out of pocket before the plan kicks in and pays 90/10 on everything.  I explained to HR that I work for LOB, I don't have an extra $4k just lying around.  HR tells me that I can use the money in the HSA to pay these costs.  Yes, that's wonderful, but it's kind of hard when the money is only deposited in there each pay period and not all at once.  We weren't able to use the HSA at all before January 15 because there was no money in there.  What if we had had a medical emergency?  I told HR that I need to switch back to the PPO plan because this HDHC would bankrupt me.   HR told me, that no, I had made a commitment, and even thought Poo-nited gave me the wrong info, LOB's info was correct, so basically, too bad and suck it.

This past Thursday, while I was home recovering from the flu, the Husband fell backwards off of a stepladder.  He fell on to his toolbox, hitting his back and the back of his head.   Chickenhead and I ran in to the living room to find the Husband in a crumpled heap.  He told me his back hurt, and more seriously, he was having chest pains.  I immediately called 911 and they took him to the hospital.   The hospital did a CT scan and kept him overnight, and did a stress test on his heart the next day and released him.  The tests came back normal, which I'm glad for.

In the midst of all of this, I feel duped by LOB and Poo-nited.  I'm not a stupid person, I don't have comprehension problems.  I researched the shit out of this insurance plan, using all of the information provided by LOB and Poo-nited, and asked direct and pointed questions about the aspects of the plan I wasn't sure about.  I asked specific questions, and based on Poo-nited's answers, which turned out to be wrong, I chose this plan.  And because LOB has taken a 'suck it Trebeck' attitude, my family finances are screwed.  We have to figure out where we're going to come up with $4k so that the bills are paid and the deductible met. 

I know that things always have a way of working themselves out, but damn.  This pisses me off to no end, and to know that LOB, which prides themselves on their employee satisfaction ratings, doesn't seem to give a crap when it comes to their employee's best interests.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

You're Not The Boss of Me (at least not anymore)

So over the past couple of days, I've been thinking about getting in the right frame of mind.  I've been thinking about my health, and about getting healthy. 

I think all of the diet companies, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Sensa, whatever, they don't really care if we actually lose weight or not.  Don't get me wrong, I've done WW before and lost weight, but you know what happens?  I, like lots of other WW members, gain the weight back.  And we beat ourselves up and sign up again.  Lather, rinse, repeat. The weight loss industry is just that, an industry.  It's all about making money off of our hopes and fears.   They tell us that if we lose the weight, our lives will be BETTER!!  We'll be HAPPY!!  Thin is in, baby, and if you ain't thin, you ain't in.

To which I respectfully say, 'fuck that'.  (sorry for the f-bomb!)  Happiness does not come from being a certain size, happiness comes only from accepting yourself NOW.  Not the person you once were, not the person you wish you were, but the person you are right now.  If I can't learn to love and accept the person that I am right now, when will I ever?  I'm 45 years old, and it's too long to feel like I'm not worthy of happiness.  I have a great husband and son, and the best friends a girl could ever ask for.  They all make me very happy, but I also need to be happy with myself.  So I'm going to do it!

I will readily admit that I'm an emotional eater.  From the time I was a little girl, there was a cookie or some other treat from a well meaning grandma for every boo-boo or disappointment.  I ate to cover up the fear and shame when I was being abused by my babysitter's husband.  I ate to cover the anger and resentment I felt towards my mother. Food was my friend during the awkward junior high years, when I didn't have many friends.  Food was always there, and it still is.  If I'm feeling stressed, I want something sweet and carb-filled.  If I'm bored, I'm heading towards the fridge in search of something, anything to fill the void. 

To be honest, the constant thinking about food, worrying about the calorie count, the guilt I feel when I eat something 'bad', is exhausting.  I'm done with all of it. 

So today I say, food, you are no longer the boss.  I will eat when I'm hungry.  I'm going to try really, really hard, to find something else to focus on if I'm feeling stressed or bored. I'm no longer looking at foods as 'bad' or 'good'.  Food is food.  You have had too much power in my life food, and I'm over it.  If I want to eat something that I love, I'm going to do it.  But I'm also going to do some things to balance it all out.  More water, no soda.  A half hour of exercise every day.  No more beating myself up if I fall off the wagon.  You don't have control anymore, food.  It's my turn now. :)