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Medical Bills Curiosity

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS. He is a married father of 2. So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house. He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. It usually starts as something simple. I needed to look at whether I had been billed for a past medical visit. That simple task, combined with all of the healthcare talk in the country, piqued my curiosity. That led to a full-on dive into my medical claims file. I have data going back to 2011. That’s the year I began tracking all of our health care expenses. The Beginning Before 2011, I didn’t track my medical claims, as there wasn’t really a need for it. The little guy changed all that when he arrived. For those of you who are unaware, he was born with a heart condition that required immediate intervention. He was transported to a hospital 2 hours away from where he was born, to correct his problem. He spent the next 3 days in cardiac-intensive care, and then amazingly I got to take him home. Needless to say, there were a few … Read more

Let’s Whine About Insurance Costs!

It’s that time of year for us again – most of our insurance policies are up for renewal.  I cringe every time I pay one of the bills, and yet I know that we’re actually getting fair renewal rates. How do I know?  I shop around every couple of years or when there is a significant jump in cost.  AND I talk a lot about everything to everybody, so I usually have a good idea of what is being paid by others. So chime in below so we can all keep up on the going rates in our own regions.  I’m starting with our most costly out-of-pocket coverage and working my way down.  Knowledge is power…knowledge of costs is the power to save money! Health Care Coverage We don’t technically have health insurance.  We joined Liberty Healthshare in 2016, which is a health cost sharing group.  It’s not actually insurance, but they work similarly.  They don’t guarantee coverage, have a maximum coverage amount of $1,000,000 per incident, and they don’t cover pre-existing conditions fully for the first few years. But they let us join, cost WAY less than our previous health insurance ($299 a month instead of $570+), and have … Read more

I’m Hosting a $10 Dietbet – Starts August 1!

UPDATE July 31:  JUMP ONTO THIS WEIGHT LOSS TRAIN NOW TO GRAB A PIECE OF THE FUN!!!  You can join in late though it gives you less time to lose the 4%… I know, I know.  I won a whopping $12 on my first Dietbet and wasn’t extremely impressed.  But, my annoyance with the small payout actually motivated me to refuse to lose my other 3 Dietbets.  That meant I stayed on track last weekend even though truly wanted to take a break from calorie-counting, and I won $46 on the 3 Kickstarters.  Soooo…I guess I am indeed money-motivated. I also have been mentioning my Dietbets to a few friends, and they wanted in on the action too. My neighbor friend and strength-training buddy, Debbie, wanted to try it out with a $10 bet.  I didn’t see any of those starting soon, so I decided to host one myself. You don’t receive any kickbacks for hosting small games, but that just means we all have to win so Dietbet gets nothing too.  😉  We can motivate each other to stick to our respective diet and workout plans.  And $10 is cheaper than a month of many other weight loss programs. … Read more

I Won My First Dietbet!!!

I made 4 bets totaling $125+ on  Those bets generally were me saying that I could lose 4% of my overall weight within a month.  The first bet ended this past Monday, July 17.  My First Bet I started at 175.4 and needed to hit 168.4 in about 3 weeks since I entered this $35 campaign a week after its official start time.  My plan of attack was to track my food intake using My Fitness Pal (a free app) and change very little else.  I already strength train with a neighbor friend, Debbie, twice a week.  My cardio is usually infrequent and with friends like William and Dee. About 6 days into this first bet, I felt pretty dumb.  7 pounds in 3 weeks is 2.34 pounds per week.  I usually lose 1-2 pounds a week during a diet.  Plus my weight fluctuates 1-3 pounds every day.  So I would need to truly have no cheat days and hope to get lucky during the 48 hour final weigh-in period at the end if I was super close to the 4% mark. I was super close. Final Results The final weigh-in needed to be submitted sometime between Monday early … Read more

Thinking about Getting Knocked Up Again

This has been a crappy year for our procreation plans.  I got pregnant in late November 2016, had a blighted ovum miscarriage in mid-January 2017, got pregnant again in mid-March 2017, and had an ectopic pregnancy miscarriage in late April 2017.  That one took nearly a month for my system to physically reset, and I was told to wait at least two menstrual cycles before trying again.  I was also warned that I would now have an increased chance for ectopic pregnancies with any future attempts.  Wanting to Try Again Despite the scare factor the tubal pregnancy slapped me with, my husband and I are seriously contemplating whether we should start trying again in the next month or so (after my second cycle).  I’ve slammed through all of my stages of grief (sad, angry, depressed, contemplative, snarky, and acceptance).  I also used the time to find a new OB-GYN since the staff of my last doctor treated me like a faceless number.  We meet my new doctor this Thursday and I’ll make sure we are good to go again physically.  If so, we then need to figure out if we want to try again soon or wait a few more … Read more

My First Dietbet Ends in One Week – $35 on the Line

I joined four different Dietbet campaigns a couple of weeks ago.  In short, I bet $125 overall that I could lose 7 pounds by July 17 and keep it off through July 26.  As of this past Sunday morning, I have 1.2 pounds to go…it just happens to be the week of birthday parties and a baby shower.  I may not have thought this through all the way.  😉 How I’ve Lost the Weight So Far The first campaign had already started by the time I joined, so that left me with a little more than 3 weeks to lose the 4% of my body weight.  I refuse to starve myself, take pills, or do anything that could mess with my hormones.  I want to be a healthy baby-making vessel should the time come and we’ll be trying again in the next few months.  With that slant towards health in mind, I’ve been tracking every single thing I eat in My Fitness Pal and have been walking more.  My Fitness Pal is a free application that set me a daily calorie goal to stay around every day based on my current weight, height, and normal activity level.  I get 1320 … Read more

I Bet $125 on My Weight

Instead of yo-yo dieting, I yo-yo life.  I’ll have my give-no-shits periods of time where I do and eat whatever I want and procrastinate whenever possible.  Or I could spend significant chunks of the calendar diving into healthy living like a squirrel on crack – exercising, cutting out empty calories, tackling those previously procrastinated projects.  Or I could be in my mellow phase where I balance my donuts-or-die time with stick-to-my-daily goal time and things get done at a normal pace.  It’s the Crystal Life Cycle. Well…I plunged into my squirrel on crack cycle a few weeks ago.  This hasn’t been amazing for our bank account since we had been putting several big things off for more than a year, but it has meant I’ve been happier, driven, and confident.  Confident enough to spend $125+ on joining FOUR Dietbet campaigns! Have You Done Dietbet? I’m now a participant in a $25-per-month group that spends 6 months attempting to lose 10% of our overall weight.  I also joined three 1 month groups aiming to lose 4% of our weight in one month.  Yep, they are concurrent.  In short, I need to weigh 168 pounds or less by July 17 and keep … Read more