Oh, Internet! Please Help Me!

Why, yes, I am about to discuss intimate financial matters with the whole world.  But someone out there in the whole world is going to have the answer I need.  So, here goes.

As you recall, I have health insurance in which the first $500 of my medical expenses is covered and then I cover the next $2,500, and the insurance company kicks back in at $3,000.

This is a great plan if you only go to the doctor twice a year, because you basically pay nothing (except for your regular monthly costs, which, for some reason, don’t count towards your $2,500, but oh well) to see the doctor.

If, however, you have an x-ray (paid for by insurance) and then a CT scan and four doctors’ appointments in a month and now out-patient surgery, you might be looking around the house for $2,500.

Fair enough.  I was bitter, but I really do believe that, if this all had not gone wrong, I would have felt like I made the genius insurance choice so what can you do?

It still doesn’t alleviate the $2,500 I have to come up with.

Okay, but internet here’s where I need your help.  So, I regularly get these statements from a company called WageWorks and I regularly don’t bother to even look at them because the one time I opened the envelope and saw a balance of $500 in there, I assumed that was the $500 that went towards the first $500 of my insurance.  I’ve just been tossing those puppies ever since.

But now that I’ve used up that $500, I was curious to see what the statement looked like, to see if it matched my online statement.  Yes, I’d been assuming that WageWorks was some subsidiary of Aetna.

So, I open up the Monthly Account Statement and my balance is $925.00.

I don’t think I have to tell you how I’ve been sitting here all “What the fuck?”

Where has this money come from?  Can I use it towards the $2,500?  I mean, America, I don’t think I have to tell you how much I’d rather be trying to come up with $1,575 than $2,500.  Who is WageWorks?  And how have I gotten this far in life being as big an idiot as I am?

Clearly, I’m going to have to call them this week, discover who they are, and see what the deal is.

It claims that it is automatically set up to pay my health plan claims, but does my health plan know about them?

It’s all very strange.

It’s funny, the other day I was at Qdoba and I ran into a woman who used to work in my building and she asked me if I was still at our mutual employer and I said yes and she asked me how long I’d been there and I said “Since 99” and she laughed and said, “Yep, once you start using those benefits, they know they’ve got you hooked.”

I thought about that last night, as I was staring at this statement claiming I have $925 to use towards healthcare.  If that’s true, it is the best news I’ve gotten all week and it makes me feel a strange loyalty towards my employer, like, “yeah, you might have only paid me $19,000 a year when I first took this job and you let the law students park in my lot and you are a terrible bureaucracy that is impossible to navigate, but when I was worried about a $2,500 medical bill right in the middle of the holidays, more than a third of it magically showed up in my mailbox.”

Though, in all fairness, they may have been taking this money out of my check for years.  Who knows?

Not me, because I am an idiot.

14 thoughts on “Oh, Internet! Please Help Me!

  1. B, I think you must have signed up for the personal spending account option, and some money has been coming out of your check for this. I didn’t sign up for it, but I think you have to use that money before the end of the year. I’m going to send you a link to more info on this part of the benefits package.

  2. I had WageWorks for a while, and it was a deal where they take money out of your paycheck pre-tax and put it in this account, and then you can use it to reimburse yourself for qualified health expenses.

    Do it! Do it! It sounds like Rachel is on it–hope it gets straightened out and you can use the money, because at least when I had it, it’s definitely your money that came out of your paycheck, and if you don’t use it within the year, you lose it. And that would suck a whole lot.

  3. yep, that sounds like the Flexible Spending Account…

    You can use that money toward your medical expenses, including medication. Some plans give you a card that you use just like a debit card, others, you have to send in a claim form and they send you a check.

    You MUST use the money by the end of the year or you lose it. It’s YOUR money. But that’s the bad news: If you’ve been signed up for this all these years…um…that money has been wasted. (If that is indeed what this is.)

    Is there somebody in your Benefits department of HR who can help explain exactly what your benefits are?

  4. Or, you could talk to The Primary Wife, since she does this for a living…

    As does Mr. Abrahamson.

    (Assuming he actually works when he’s at his job…)

    Congrats on the good news. It’s times like this that I think of as the cookie and juice Life gives you after sucking your blood.

  5. You MUST use the money by the end of the year or you lose it.

    Most of the time that’s true, but my benefits plan carries that over. Check with HR.

  6. [Pardon the rant, please…I am sorry for your financial and medical troubles, but yay on the “windfall” that you paid for.]

    Ah, Flexible Spending.

    What a concept. Goes like this …

    Since the crappy health insurance bet you place with us is a SURE loser, how bout putting a little more of your cash on the bet that you’ll be exceeding your “deductibles” in the upcoming year?? Best outcome is that your med bills will be close to what “tax free” $$ you’ve allowed. Win Win or fucking WHAT?!

    YAY! Can anyone fix this intensely fucked up mess? Doubtful. It’s all too late, so many worlds removed from any real philosophy of health and the maintenance thereof. We are doomed.

    [Rant ends]

  7. Kat —

    That hurt my feelings. Good thing I don’t have any feelings.

    B —

    Yes, this is exactly my area of expertise. We’ll fix you up. Please call me. I’ll give you my phone number via email.

  8. Here’s a crazy idea (no, literally): if you could pay $1000 now (mostly from your healthcare savings account), how badly would your medical providers mind if you put off paying the rest until after Jan. 1st? If you can swing it, then you can use next year’s tax-free healthcare savings account to pay most of the rest.

  9. If it’s flex spending, and WageWorks is who we have for our felx spending account, it WILL NOT carry over. [If it’s one of the more “consumer driven” insurance programs (like Lumenos, where you get a big pile of money and can spend it as you need) a certain portion of the money will carry over.] Receipts for flex spending will need to be dated by Dec 31 2007 but you’ll have the first few months of the year to turn them in. You can also submit receipts for Tylenol, Benadyl, bandaids, eyeglasses and contact lens miscellany, etc.

    Flex spending accounts, to my knowledge, cannot automatically renew.

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