I am visiting [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel in Montreal. It took less than a day for me to reach into my pocket for coins, look at the (American) penny that came out, and think "what is that doing there?" A few hours later, I reached in again, found the same ocin, and said "pennies. Feh."

Yes, there are a lot of more important things wrong with my country and its government, but being up here where the smallest coin is a nickel reminds me of what a nuisance they are. The last time I fed change into the Coinstar machine (and put the value on a Starbucks card rather pay a 10% fee) it told me I had put in between thirteen and fourteen dollars, including an even hundred pennies.

(In both countries I find myself wishing there were more $10 bills in circulation—it's almost all fives and twenties—but that's a smaller thing. It seems to make a little more sense up here, where the five is the smallest paper money.)
I have bought a permanent account on Dreamwidth. This doesn't mean I'm leaving LJ. It does mean I expect to stay on DW, don't think it's going to evaporate in the next year or two, and generally approve of what they're doing, including but not limited to not putting ads on free account pages (which only works if a significant number of users are paying for accounts). I like Dreamwidth, and right now they need the money (which is why they're putting a few hundred of these on sale). Also, a few times over the years I've thought that it would have made better sense to have bought a permanent LJ account instead of buying a year at a time; the tradeoffs are actually slightly better at DW (though both the yearly and seed/permanent account prices are higher than at LJ).

If I read things right, I have the choice of transferring the paid time I had left to someone else, or converting it into Dreamwidth points (which I suppose I could then divide up and use to divide the time among two or more people?). I think the first step is to check how much time is involved. On the off chance anyone reading this who doesn't have a Dreamwidth account wants one, I also have a few invite codes available; just ask.
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 2nd, 2008 03:03 pm)
More insurance stuff: the automated system says that the $8,000 claim for the surgeon has been processed. Specifically, they paid $6,725 and I am not responsible for any additional amount. This is all well and good, but the payment date given is July 25. That, I think, is the date it was processed the first time as out-of-network at a much lower rate. I didn't want to sit listening to hold music, and am going for now to wait until I get the paper statement, or have some time earlier in the day.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 2nd, 2008 03:03 pm)
More insurance stuff: the automated system says that the $8,000 claim for the surgeon has been processed. Specifically, they paid $6,725 and I am not responsible for any additional amount. This is all well and good, but the payment date given is July 25. That, I think, is the date it was processed the first time as out-of-network at a much lower rate. I didn't want to sit listening to hold music, and am going for now to wait until I get the paper statement, or have some time earlier in the day.
As you know, Bob, an FSA is... )

I'd never had an FSA before, so I had to guess how much to put in it. I figured so many prescriptions, so many doctor visits, and if there was anything left over I could get new glasses if it was a lot, or stock up on ibuprofen if it was a few dollars. I did that calculation in March. I didn't count on the gall bladder surgery, of course.

In May, I made what turned out to be a practical mistake, and used the card they sent me to charge a couple of prescription copays against the account. This was a mistake because I did not immediately grab the receipts and send them in to substantiate the expenses. They've been sending me letters, and I've been looking for receipts. Apparently there's no way to send them back the money if you can't find the receipt, it has to be offset against other expenses you can substantiate.

One of the things that is covered is hospitalization. I got the bill from the hospital yesterday, for that part of their bill that the insurer neither covered nor negotiated a discount on. It comes to a little over $1000. That not only is more than I have left in my FSA for 2008, it's more than the total I told them to deduct for the calendar year. So I am faxing them a copy of the hospital bill (or trying to, their fax machine is often slow to answer on weekends), and figure they will send me a check for about a third of it, and I can stop worrying about drugstore and medical copay receipts for 2008, though I may throw a few more in the appropriate folder just in case.

Sometime in the next few months, I will need to guess how much to have taken out next year; this year is not a useful basis for calculation. (I may be a bit less conservative than I was this year, on the theory that new glasses never did me any harm.)

ETA: I got the reimbursement in today's mail (August 16; I faxed the form to them on the tenth). Computers being like that, it states the amount paid out this year, the amount remaining in my account (zero), and the amount of outstanding claims (about $700). I say "Computers being like that" because the outstanding amount cannot be paid: money added in 2009 won't apply. Actually, there might be a way it would be payable: if I changed jobs before the end of the year, and the new job also had an FSA. This is low-probability. So I have put that paperwork in the "FSA" folder, and the check in my wallet.
As you know, Bob, an FSA is... )

I'd never had an FSA before, so I had to guess how much to put in it. I figured so many prescriptions, so many doctor visits, and if there was anything left over I could get new glasses if it was a lot, or stock up on ibuprofen if it was a few dollars. I did that calculation in March. I didn't count on the gall bladder surgery, of course.

In May, I made what turned out to be a practical mistake, and used the card they sent me to charge a couple of prescription copays against the account. This was a mistake because I did not immediately grab the receipts and send them in to substantiate the expenses. They've been sending me letters, and I've been looking for receipts. Apparently there's no way to send them back the money if you can't find the receipt, it has to be offset against other expenses you can substantiate.

One of the things that is covered is hospitalization. I got the bill from the hospital yesterday, for that part of their bill that the insurer neither covered nor negotiated a discount on. It comes to a little over $1000. That not only is more than I have left in my FSA for 2008, it's more than the total I told them to deduct for the calendar year. So I am faxing them a copy of the hospital bill (or trying to, their fax machine is often slow to answer on weekends), and figure they will send me a check for about a third of it, and I can stop worrying about drugstore and medical copay receipts for 2008, though I may throw a few more in the appropriate folder just in case.

Sometime in the next few months, I will need to guess how much to have taken out next year; this year is not a useful basis for calculation. (I may be a bit less conservative than I was this year, on the theory that new glasses never did me any harm.)

ETA: I got the reimbursement in today's mail (August 16; I faxed the form to them on the tenth). Computers being like that, it states the amount paid out this year, the amount remaining in my account (zero), and the amount of outstanding claims (about $700). I say "Computers being like that" because the outstanding amount cannot be paid: money added in 2009 won't apply. Actually, there might be a way it would be payable: if I changed jobs before the end of the year, and the new job also had an FSA. This is low-probability. So I have put that paperwork in the "FSA" folder, and the check in my wallet.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 8th, 2008 06:10 pm)
I have had my slightly belated dental visit. Full X-rays and a cleaning. Before he started, I asked about the X-rays and he said they looked good.

Then he handed me a mirror because he wanted to show me a bad spot. He used a phrasing that apparently isn't always as bad as it sounds: "cracked tooth." In this case, what I appear to have is a damaged tooth and filling; he'll patch it for now. This is Dr. Mahindra's idea: if he had said I needed a crown I'd have said "okay, go ahead." There's also another small cavity. I'm to make another appointment to have these filled. It's possible I'll need a crown on that first damaged tooth in a year or two.

It appears that his idea of being gentle with me is to do things in small batches. Yes, I tend to ask for a break partway through the cleaning (and I think I asked for breaks partway through the more serious stuff, but the last filling was in 2000 and the root canals were in 1993, so I don't remember well.*

Also, my insurance covers preventive work such as cleanings and occasional X-rays, 100%. (Since I'm new to this coverage, as far as it's concerned these are the first set of X-rays.) I'll be paying a deductible plus 20%, I think he said, for the fillings.

*I have dates for things I don't remember well because we checked in my chart.
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 8th, 2008 06:10 pm)
I have had my slightly belated dental visit. Full X-rays and a cleaning. Before he started, I asked about the X-rays and he said they looked good.

Then he handed me a mirror because he wanted to show me a bad spot. He used a phrasing that apparently isn't always as bad as it sounds: "cracked tooth." In this case, what I appear to have is a damaged tooth and filling; he'll patch it for now. This is Dr. Mahindra's idea: if he had said I needed a crown I'd have said "okay, go ahead." There's also another small cavity. I'm to make another appointment to have these filled. It's possible I'll need a crown on that first damaged tooth in a year or two.

It appears that his idea of being gentle with me is to do things in small batches. Yes, I tend to ask for a break partway through the cleaning (and I think I asked for breaks partway through the more serious stuff, but the last filling was in 2000 and the root canals were in 1993, so I don't remember well.*

Also, my insurance covers preventive work such as cleanings and occasional X-rays, 100%. (Since I'm new to this coverage, as far as it's concerned these are the first set of X-rays.) I'll be paying a deductible plus 20%, I think he said, for the fillings.

*I have dates for things I don't remember well because we checked in my chart.
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (farthing party 2007)
( Aug. 6th, 2008 11:02 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I have our plans for the Farthing Party. We fly up Thursday 28 August and back to New York Monday 1 September (Labo(u)r Day). We're staying in the La Presidence/suites part of the building, where we hope we will both sleep better than we did in the con hotel last year.

Now I am going to have some herb tea, and then sleep.

Yes, we can afford this. Spending chunks of money still stresses me out sometimes, but Cattitude has been helpful in a variety of ways, verbal and otherwise.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (farthing party 2007)
( Aug. 6th, 2008 11:02 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I have our plans for the Farthing Party. We fly up Thursday 28 August and back to New York Monday 1 September (Labo(u)r Day). We're staying in the La Presidence/suites part of the building, where we hope we will both sleep better than we did in the con hotel last year.

Now I am going to have some herb tea, and then sleep.

Yes, we can afford this. Spending chunks of money still stresses me out sometimes, but Cattitude has been helpful in a variety of ways, verbal and otherwise.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 29th, 2008 09:41 am)
I just got off the phone with Cigna. This time I spoke to a woman named Kimberly.

She agreed that the certificate of credible coverage had been received on May 30. Oddly, she said there was no record of my second phone call, after I got their second letter, or of any activity on this particular claim.

The current situation (in addition to her apologizing for the confusion) is that I have a service request number, 1-2108647621. That service request is her attaching the information about the certificate of credible coverage to this claim. I also stated that this was not a preexisting condition and asked her to include that information.

She told me that I will receive correspondence within 15 business days (that's by August 20) about their review and, I sincerely hope, payment of this claim.

Also, there are no other outstanding claims: everything else related to the hospitalization has been paid.

ETA: I have been to the post office, and sent a certified letter explaining the situation, their stupid form on which I also state that I had never been treated for the condition before, and another copy of the certificate of credible coverage. The post office was pleasantly uncrowded: my wait in line was a few seconds longer than I needed to fill out the certified mail and return receipt forms.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 29th, 2008 09:41 am)
I just got off the phone with Cigna. This time I spoke to a woman named Kimberly.

She agreed that the certificate of credible coverage had been received on May 30. Oddly, she said there was no record of my second phone call, after I got their second letter, or of any activity on this particular claim.

The current situation (in addition to her apologizing for the confusion) is that I have a service request number, 1-2108647621. That service request is her attaching the information about the certificate of credible coverage to this claim. I also stated that this was not a preexisting condition and asked her to include that information.

She told me that I will receive correspondence within 15 business days (that's by August 20) about their review and, I sincerely hope, payment of this claim.

Also, there are no other outstanding claims: everything else related to the hospitalization has been paid.

ETA: I have been to the post office, and sent a certified letter explaining the situation, their stupid form on which I also state that I had never been treated for the condition before, and another copy of the certificate of credible coverage. The post office was pleasantly uncrowded: my wait in line was a few seconds longer than I needed to fill out the certified mail and return receipt forms.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 19th, 2008 02:01 pm)
The stack of bills for this week includes two related to the gall bladder surgery. One is for $8000.00 from the surgeon, with a note saying "if you have insurance we will help you file" and a space on the back for giving them my insurance information. They should already have it, but I have filled it in again and sent the paper back, trying not to fret. The other is for $322.00 for something to do with the ER, and labeled "previous balance". I thought I remembered writing a check for that already. A quick look online showed that they cashed the check on July 3. This bill is dated July 10. That one is going back with a polite note saying that it was paid with check thus-and-such, from account whosis, cashed July 3, and not adding "so stop wasting my time and stamps."
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 19th, 2008 02:01 pm)
The stack of bills for this week includes two related to the gall bladder surgery. One is for $8000.00 from the surgeon, with a note saying "if you have insurance we will help you file" and a space on the back for giving them my insurance information. They should already have it, but I have filled it in again and sent the paper back, trying not to fret. The other is for $322.00 for something to do with the ER, and labeled "previous balance". I thought I remembered writing a check for that already. A quick look online showed that they cashed the check on July 3. This bill is dated July 10. That one is going back with a polite note saying that it was paid with check thus-and-such, from account whosis, cashed July 3, and not adding "so stop wasting my time and stamps."
I called the insurance company today, and got information from their automated system. After confirming who I was and that I was calling about a claim, it asked me for the date of the claim. I entered the date on the bill, 4/27/08. It had four claims. The first was the one I was calling about, and it has been processed and paid: basically, the hospital sent me a bill on June 11, and the insurance company processed the claim on the 12th. So that's all right. But one of the three other claims for that day was a huge one, apparently covering most of what was done in the hospital. The original amount was $26,000 and something, of which the insurance company said they had paid $24,000 and something, and negotiated it down some, and I was responsible for $900. It's not that we don't have the money, it's that I would like us to keep having the money. (Yes, it could be a lot worse.) After that phone call, the woman at the next desk, who I gather had inferred that I was calling the insurer, came over to ask whether Cigna was covering things, and express something between sympathy and caution about things being handled slowly.

After work, I went to the gym, using a branch three blocks from my office this time. It's mostly good, albeit very crowded, but either they don't have the stretch device I use or it's not on either of the two floors I was exercising on (cardio things are on the street level, weight machines and some free weights downstairs, and I think there's at least one exercise studio up a flight from street level). Also, my usual gym has better laundry service (i.e., fewer of the towels smell of old sweat), I think because the hotel handles the laundry. But exercising near work reduces travel time, which is a win.

numbers )
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I called the insurance company today, and got information from their automated system. After confirming who I was and that I was calling about a claim, it asked me for the date of the claim. I entered the date on the bill, 4/27/08. It had four claims. The first was the one I was calling about, and it has been processed and paid: basically, the hospital sent me a bill on June 11, and the insurance company processed the claim on the 12th. So that's all right. But one of the three other claims for that day was a huge one, apparently covering most of what was done in the hospital. The original amount was $26,000 and something, of which the insurance company said they had paid $24,000 and something, and negotiated it down some, and I was responsible for $900. It's not that we don't have the money, it's that I would like us to keep having the money. (Yes, it could be a lot worse.) After that phone call, the woman at the next desk, who I gather had inferred that I was calling the insurer, came over to ask whether Cigna was covering things, and express something between sympathy and caution about things being handled slowly.

After work, I went to the gym, using a branch three blocks from my office this time. It's mostly good, albeit very crowded, but either they don't have the stretch device I use or it's not on either of the two floors I was exercising on (cardio things are on the street level, weight machines and some free weights downstairs, and I think there's at least one exercise studio up a flight from street level). Also, my usual gym has better laundry service (i.e., fewer of the towels smell of old sweat), I think because the hotel handles the laundry. But exercising near work reduces travel time, which is a win.

numbers )
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I spent a pleasant afternoon with [livejournal.com profile] roadnotes yesterday. It was our usual ongoing conversation, this time mostly at La Lanterna over tea, fruit drinks, duck salad, and sweets. Then we wandered around the Village a bit, ending up with a brief stop at Varsano's for chocolate. I got a quarter pound of chocolate covered ginger (large pieces, still nice and soft) and a few truffles and creams. One was something labeled as a caramel truffle. I asked about it, and Mark said "would you like to sample one?" and handed one to each of us, noting as he did that they have liquid centers. I liked it, Roadnotes liked it, so I bought two, because [livejournal.com profile] cattitude is fond of caramels. He turned out less fond of it than I'd hoped, saying he prefers the basic chocolate-covered caramel, but that's not dislike, just modified rapture.

Having misread the subway rerouting notices, I allowed more time than I needed, and was downtown well before our agreed rendezvous. That was time to stop at Aphrodisia beforehand, and be reminded of why I carry a shopping list on the Palm. I went in for dried chives, which I got. I also got some cassia, which I remembered I was almost out of, and some brown mustard seed because [livejournal.com profile] adrian_turtle used some in a lamb and lentil stew that I liked. I took out the Palm, brought up the shopping list, said "oh," and selected a paprika. While I was on line the first time, a tour guide told his group that it was a "very hippie store." The proprietor expressed distaste, and I suggested that he just meant she'd been there a long time (and thus in his own head associated her or the shop with the Village's hippie days). Even with the stop there, I got to the cafe early. Roadnotes was, I think, also running early: I asked for a pot of tea and the menu, and the tea came quickly. It had about had time to steep when she arrived, but I hadn't poured it into my cup.

Other than that, I've been doing my best to take it easy and rest some. The main accomplishment today has been swapping out the Palm V and its cradle for the m515 [livejournal.com profile] ckd gave me a while back: no heavy lifting involved, and it took place entirely indoors. Yes, I have been out, in unexpected sunshine—Roadnotes and I picked yesterday partly because the forecast was for sun then and thunderstorms today—but briefly, just time to enjoy some greenery and regret that another of the trees in the nearby part of the park has fallen over.

When I wrote this, I meant to add that I have now received two bills from the hospital for the gall bladder stuff. One I have paid, and faxed a copy to the FISA account people: that's for $34.63 after what the insurance company paid and/or got them to discount. The other is for ten times that, with a note that they have, as a courtesy, submitted the bill to my insurance company, and that I should contact said company to find out what's going on. So, another call to Cigna tomorrow.
I spent a pleasant afternoon with [livejournal.com profile] roadnotes yesterday. It was our usual ongoing conversation, this time mostly at La Lanterna over tea, fruit drinks, duck salad, and sweets. Then we wandered around the Village a bit, ending up with a brief stop at Varsano's for chocolate. I got a quarter pound of chocolate covered ginger (large pieces, still nice and soft) and a few truffles and creams. One was something labeled as a caramel truffle. I asked about it, and Mark said "would you like to sample one?" and handed one to each of us, noting as he did that they have liquid centers. I liked it, Roadnotes liked it, so I bought two, because [livejournal.com profile] cattitude is fond of caramels. He turned out less fond of it than I'd hoped, saying he prefers the basic chocolate-covered caramel, but that's not dislike, just modified rapture.

Having misread the subway rerouting notices, I allowed more time than I needed, and was downtown well before our agreed rendezvous. That was time to stop at Aphrodisia beforehand, and be reminded of why I carry a shopping list on the Palm. I went in for dried chives, which I got. I also got some cassia, which I remembered I was almost out of, and some brown mustard seed because [livejournal.com profile] adrian_turtle used some in a lamb and lentil stew that I liked. I took out the Palm, brought up the shopping list, said "oh," and selected a paprika. While I was on line the first time, a tour guide told his group that it was a "very hippie store." The proprietor expressed distaste, and I suggested that he just meant she'd been there a long time (and thus in his own head associated her or the shop with the Village's hippie days). Even with the stop there, I got to the cafe early. Roadnotes was, I think, also running early: I asked for a pot of tea and the menu, and the tea came quickly. It had about had time to steep when she arrived, but I hadn't poured it into my cup.

Other than that, I've been doing my best to take it easy and rest some. The main accomplishment today has been swapping out the Palm V and its cradle for the m515 [livejournal.com profile] ckd gave me a while back: no heavy lifting involved, and it took place entirely indoors. Yes, I have been out, in unexpected sunshine—Roadnotes and I picked yesterday partly because the forecast was for sun then and thunderstorms today—but briefly, just time to enjoy some greenery and regret that another of the trees in the nearby part of the park has fallen over.

When I wrote this, I meant to add that I have now received two bills from the hospital for the gall bladder stuff. One I have paid, and faxed a copy to the FISA account people: that's for $34.63 after what the insurance company paid and/or got them to discount. The other is for ten times that, with a note that they have, as a courtesy, submitted the bill to my insurance company, and that I should contact said company to find out what's going on. So, another call to Cigna tomorrow.
As some of you know, I took a deep breath a few days ago and sent off, along with my most recent invoice for freelance proofreading, a cover note saying that as of April 1, I was raising my freelance rate to $22/hour. (They'd been getting $18/hour for a long time--long enough that this is slightly over cumulative inflation for the period in question.) Yesterday I got back a note saying that this rate was fine, complimenting me on the quality of my work, and adding that they're going back to ten issues/year, which will mean a bit more work. That part will make more difference to the total income involved than the rate increase: I do seven or eight hours of work per issue, and I suspect the client thought both "she does good work" and "we can afford a couple of hundred dollars a year extra here."

In some sense, I should have done this sooner. But my own shyness about asking for things aside, it was easier to ask now, when we could have afforded for me to lose this gig, than when the $140 or so a month was a significant piece of the household budget.

I also went to the gym yesterday )
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As some of you know, I took a deep breath a few days ago and sent off, along with my most recent invoice for freelance proofreading, a cover note saying that as of April 1, I was raising my freelance rate to $22/hour. (They'd been getting $18/hour for a long time--long enough that this is slightly over cumulative inflation for the period in question.) Yesterday I got back a note saying that this rate was fine, complimenting me on the quality of my work, and adding that they're going back to ten issues/year, which will mean a bit more work. That part will make more difference to the total income involved than the rate increase: I do seven or eight hours of work per issue, and I suspect the client thought both "she does good work" and "we can afford a couple of hundred dollars a year extra here."

In some sense, I should have done this sooner. But my own shyness about asking for things aside, it was easier to ask now, when we could have afforded for me to lose this gig, than when the $140 or so a month was a significant piece of the household budget.

I also went to the gym yesterday )
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