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CT cost..SHOCKED
Old 05-14-2013, 09:49 AM   #1
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CT cost..SHOCKED

I'm having 2 cat scans & the hospital called to go over benefits. I have BCBS (federal) with a $5000 dedutible and I've met $183 of it this year. My cost, due when I go for the tests, is $2085, plus any costs of radiologist & pathologists. At 62 this is the first time I've had a big sticker shock.

I think next open season I'll have to look at the BCBS that doesn't have a deductible or in addition to an ER and House/Car fund, I need a Dedutible fund.
Does anyone has such a fund for various insurance deductibles? If we get a damaging hurricane this year I'll be SOL.

Thanks for listening/reading.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:02 AM   #2
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Yes, we let funds accumulate in various budget categories to cover those kinds of irregular spending. Car repairs, home repairs, doctor bills can be roughly anticipated, but you never know when they'll hit.

If you get a lower deductible you'll pay more in premiums. So if you don't think you'll need another cat scan for another 5 years your current plan may be the cheapest. If you're going to get one every year the lower deductible may be worth it.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:45 AM   #3
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I have a $5500 deductible. Although I have been fortunate to never have had to pay for anything, I still always assume the worst and pay the lowest premium possible by carrying a higher deductible. I always max out my HSA every year and take the tax deduction. My "gap" between deductible and out of pocket payment then is really only about $2300, because of the yearly HSA deduction. In reality though if I ever have to pay, I will complain about the high cost of the bill, and pay out of my savings to let my HSA continue to grow tax free.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:58 AM   #4
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A BCBS plan with no/low deductible will obviously cost you LOTS more than your plan with a $5K deductible.

You need an HSA. Put the money you're saving in premiums in that account and use it for these kinds of expense.

Also, hospitals are open to negotiation. Offer them less cash, up front, and see if the will give you a discount.

Read more here about HSAs: Health savings account - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't know much about getting them outside an employer/employee situation. I have seen people on this board who have one at Bank of America.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:04 AM   #5
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I don't know much about getting them outside an employer/employee situation. I have seen people on this board who have one at Bank of America.
Alliant Credit Union has a decent one (no fees) if you are content with savings account rates of return.

In the past I have also used HSA Bank which allows brokerage accounts in conjunction with TD Ameritrade. They did raise there fees in the past year or two, however.

-gauss
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:05 AM   #6
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When you are on Medicare it is primary once you are retired even if you continue your Federal health insurance. As things stand right now if you choose Medicare Part B & GEHA Standard, GEHA will pay for covered services not paid by Medicare A & B with no deductible.

Federal health insurance, once you are on Medicare A & B, is more expensive than Kaiser NW Medicare + plan. I considered going that route last year and suspending my health insurance through OPM but it wasn't clear from OPM's materials how that would work and how easy reinstatement would be.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:10 AM   #7
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We have a HDHP with HSA. We budget enough each year to cover not only the medical deductible but also the max out of pocket cost plus average out of pocket costs for dental and vision. This is typically $12-13K for the year. In addition, we budget for medical, dental and vision insurance premiums and for DW's Medicare part B premium. That total is another $6.5k/year.


We have two adults and two minor children on all the plans.

We always spend it due to ongoing medical costs for DW.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:40 AM   #8
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Agreed with the general sentiment so far that if you have high deductibles, the best way to create a "deductible fund" is through an HSA.

Check out the difference between the monthly cost of an HSA-eligible HDHP and a low deductible plan. Chances are that you will be better off in the long term with the HDHP and saving the cost difference into an HSA, though that does depend on your personal situation.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cassie View Post
I'm having 2 cat scans & the hospital called to go over benefits. I have BCBS (federal) with a $5000 dedutible and I've met $183 of it this year. My cost, due when I go for the tests, is $2085, plus any costs of radiologist & pathologists. At 62 this is the first time I've had a big sticker shock.
I know it's too late in your case, but shopping around for things like cat scans (or MRIs or even lab work) can save you a bundle.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:10 PM   #10
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Thank you all for the comments and ideas!

Update: When I got to the hospital registration, the lady said wow $2085 and I said yes, that's what I was told. She and her cube mate thought that was high and checked again...finding out someone put in the wrong code. My cost was actually $444 which I joyfully paid. This was an eye opener!

Thanks again, Cassie
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:55 PM   #11
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Odds are the $ you saw first was their 'retail' price, the $444 is their contract price with BCBS.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:09 PM   #12
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Odds are the $ you saw first was their 'retail' price, the $444 is their contract price with BCBS.
That would be my guess, too. I did some bloodwork recently and the bill was listed over $700, but I walked out on site just paying $108, because of contract price. Hospital prices certainly confuse me. My local newspaper had a recent article on hospital procedures and flagged one hospital as being significantly higher than others. Their response was insurance contracts reduce that price significantly and anyone who does not have insurance, they discount immediately 60% off the stated cost. Well what then is the purpose of this price if no one pays it, including uninsured paying cash?
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:25 PM   #13
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Well what then is the purpose of this price if no one pays it, including uninsured paying cash?
It's no different with various other industries and "list prices".

In the construction industry, for instance - during a major project, we were buying drains with a .11 multiplier off of list (89% off). "everyday" purchases were typically with a .20 multiplier (80% off).

Having a high list price allows you to offer various discounts to various customers, based on volume, credit terms, market conditions, etc. It's also easier to work with giving one customer a 0.20 multiplier and another one a 0.25 multiplier, than having a lower list price, and giving one customer a .984 multiplier and another one a .8493 multiplier. There can also be other reasons....like a hospital writing off a bill due to low income/illegal aliens, and then using that 'value' of inflated services to help boost their numbers of 'free/written off care' to meet the minimum required % of care to low income people who can't pay that some cities require.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by MooreBonds

It's no different with various other industries and "list prices".

In the construction industry, for instance - during a major project, we were buying drains with a .11 multiplier off of list (89% off). "everyday" purchases were typically with a .20 multiplier (80% off).

Having a high list price allows you to offer various discounts to various customers, based on volume, credit terms, market conditions, etc. It's also easier to work with giving one customer a 0.20 multiplier and another one a 0.25 multiplier, than having a lower list price, and giving one customer a .984 multiplier and another one a .8493 multiplier. There can also be other reasons....like a hospital writing off a bill due to low income/illegal aliens, and then using that 'value' of inflated services to help boost their numbers of 'free/written off care' to meet the minimum required % of care to low income people who can't pay that some cities require.
Thanks, Moore. My favorite one is the last one though.
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