10 October 2006

Mammary dramarama

The cool thing about all the breastular drama is that, just by sitting on hold and staring at my claims page on the computer screen, I am learning a lot about dealing with health insurers.

The main thing I learned: QUESTION EVERYTHING. Every single claim. Are you listening, readers? (Canadians, French, Norwegians and others from civilized countries, please ignore me).

I saved about $100 in 5 minutes today by questioning my coverage. For my annual gynie exam, which is supposed to be covered at 100%, my doc had coded it "diagnostic" instead of routine. That little check box was going to cause me to be charged $60.49. Nuh-uh. I got the code changed and don't have to pay anything.

And my annual eye exam? They admitted that they would cover $40 even for an out-of-newtwork provider if I mailed them a receipt, something they had neglected to tell me.

Bingo. $100. Next?

I actually have Mir to thank for many of my recent money-saving exploits. I met Mir at BlogHer and was instantly taken by her.

She is so brainy, so funny, and so chic that one can't help but be drawn into her sphere. She loves to shop and she loves to save money.

A half-dozen of us stood like stunned mullets as she described how she bought a fabulous designer bag for something like 1/8 the original cost: she asked for a discount at a retail store where the bag was already marked way down.

We looked at her like she was an alien species. Ask for a discount? At a retail store? Isn't there a law or something?

She gave us her carefree Mir grin and said "Why not?"

Why not indeed. She is an inspiration to penny-pinchers everywhere and I, a formerly full-price bashful shopper, have taken up her banner. The other day I was in a thrift store (Thrift store, people!) buying some pants that were marked $4.

"These are kind of worn," I said. "Can I get a discount?"

I got them for $2. Yee haw. I hope Mir would be proud.


Unknown said...

What a small world...I too have been dealing with the evil empire of insurance companies today.

Seriously, it's a crime how many mistakes are made. There is NO WAY it's a fluke.

super des said...

I've actually argued in a thrift store about why I shouldn't pay "full" price for a dress with a broken zipper. I ended up paying $5, but I wanted to pay like $2.

Hope your hell-surance times are getting easier!

Lucia said...

I'm all for savin' $, but how anyone finds the time to deal with the evil empire is a mystery to me. How much time is worth saving $X? For people with a lot of medical stuff happening, this can become a full-time job!

Anonymous said...

My insurance premiums (oh the joys of being self-employed) just went up by almost $200 with no explanation.

Thanks to you I've decided to call and make some noise!

Still keeping you in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Mir would TOTALLY be proud.

Anonymous said...

You can save a fortune on clothes by finding two people your size. Get one who works evenings and one who works nights and just swap clothes while they are working.

And if you only wear thrift shop clothes you can save even more. That $2 pair of pants, split 3 ways means you just saved another $1.33.

I don't use this method myself. I just buy new stuff.
But you should try it and report back to us..

Anonymous said...

Girrrrrrrl, there's a little tear in my eye even now. The being proud has almost overcome the blushing embarrassment over your kind words. Trust me, my bargain exploits paled in comparison to your badass Swingline.

Here's to the boob drama wrapping up quickly and uneventfully.

SUEB0B said...

QofS - into every American's life a little insurance drama must fall...unless you can't get insurance, which is even worse.

Super Des - this was a GREAT thrift store, where most of their stuff is barely worn, so I could argue about something that was worn. I got a pair of unworn hiking boots for $4.

Lucia - I think $100 for 5 minutes on the phone was totally worth it. I get what you mean, though.

Marian - can't hurt to ask. Or move in with your son in Canada.

Jes - yes, see below!

Happy - Good plan. I think I will try it.

Mir!! You saw! You came! You commented! As a super-non-assertive person, just ASKING for a discount is huuuuuuge for me...I will work my way up to retail! It is all due to your good influence.

Lady M said...

I loved this post. $100 saved indeed.

Sorry about the annoyances with insurance and for the reason you needed to use it in the first place. I hope it turns out well.

I just filled out more Flexible Spending Account forms tonight. Yuck. Sometimes I wonder if they're really saving us any money, after all the time it takes to track healthcare receipts.

By the way, it was fun to cross paths (very briefly) at BlogHer and be part of your Red Stapler photo project. It was such a good idea. I'm hoping it's ok with you if I borrow it (the concept, not the stapler) to feel braver meeting people in a new crowd, now and again!

Anonymous said...

Queen of Spain, I was JUST saying that to my husband the other day after I saved us almost $1,000 after catching yet another claim error. They are theiving bastards.

Suebob you are absolutely right. Question Everything. My policy has become to call my insurance company on every EOB for which they do not pay the full amount, just to see what's going on. I have literally saved us thousands of dollars this year. It's sick that you have to be your own watchdog but you do.

Anonymous said...

So far I haven't had to fight any claims, but I'm disgusted by the amount we pay in premiums each month. At least it's an incentive to actually schedule annual physical exams.

As an aside - "stunned mullet" was a favorite expression of an Army colonel I knew. As in, "Don't just sit there like a stunned mullet - answer the question."

Waya said...

That's my thing too "trust noone, and asks lots of questions...on EVERYTHING!" And as for the bargain hunting/shopping, I'm surrounded by bargain hunters, i.e. my Mom and sisters. We don't pay full price for ANYTHING!! I got a Crate & Barrel blue chaise with an ottoman for $200, the retail price was $1099. It was "as if" merchandise but with three kids, who need new stuff?! ;-)

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