Thursday, August 27, 2020

FWOTW: disputing a medical billing error

This is the first year that we have signed up for a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to take advantage of a Health Savings Account (HSA).  HDHPs have great benefits if you don’t usually have a high amount of medical expenses (such as someone with a chronic condition).  The downside of having a HDHP is that it covers just one wellness visit each year.  Other medical visits are not covered until you meet your deductible ($6,000 for our family).  An HDHP is pretty much a catastrophic plan.

HSAs offer tax advantages by allowing for pre-tax dollars to be contributed into the account.
  For 2020, the maximum contribution amounts into an HSA are $3,550 for an individual and $7,100 for families.  This amount directly reduces taxable income.  You can choose to invest the money you have inside an HSA.  We are investing our balance in the Vanguard Total US Stock market index fund (VTSAX).  Withdrawing money from an HSA is also tax free for qualifying medical expenses. 

An HSA has no time limit for when you must use your account to pay for medical expenses – you can save all of your medical receipts and pay yourself back anytime later.
  This essentially allows an HSA to act like a “medical expenses” savings account.  There are no taxes on the money you contribute and no taxes on the money you take out.  The Mad FIentist calls the HSA the ultimate retirement account.    

So far we have been enjoying our HDHP and HSA.
  It’s nice to have another investment vehicle.  Imagine our surprise when we received a bill for $148.20 from our son’s pediatrician after his annual wellness visit! 

It can be difficult to make sense of all the random jargon that comes with a medical bill.  Instead of paying our bill right away, I decided to call our health insurance to find out why our son’s wellness examination was not covered.  A very nice customer service representative looked into the medical claim and discovered that the office had incorrectly billed the visit as an urgent care visit instead of a wellness examination.  Our claim was adjusted and now our balance due was $0.  

I’m glad I made the 5-minute phone call and saved $148.20!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Side hustles July 2020

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.

Once a month (usually on the 1st), I like to post a short summary of our personal and financial situation for the previous month.  While I don’t often post articles, I am committed to documenting all of my side hustle income.  Here I’ll share some of what’s been going on with our lives and our side hustles. 

Welcome to August! Did you have a good July?  We’ve had another limited shutdown of businesses in California as covid19 cases continue to rise.  My wife continues to work from home and I have been professionally fitted with an n95 mask to wear at all times at my office. 
We’ve been trying to make the most of things by having our kids do lots of outdoor and indoor activities.  Our friend gifted us an outdoor pool and the kids have enjoyed splashing around.  We purchased a bubble gun for outdoor play. 
We’ve also been going on regular walks around the neighborhood.  Our dog loves all the extra time she gets to spend outside.  
Having access to free books from the library has been awesome.  We’ve been reading new books to our kids every week!
Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of July.
Cash Back
On 7.14, my wife received a $5 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card from AMEX Offers spend $10+ at a small business and get $5 cash back.
On 7.19, I received a $6.73 statement credit on my AMEX SimplyCash business credit card.  This was for 10% cash back on shipping FedEx.
On 7.24, my wife received a $5 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card from AMEX Offers spend $10+ at a small business and get $5 cash back.

Survey Income
On 7.6, I received a $30 Amazon gift card from My Impact Network for completing a survey.
On 7.13, I received a $30 Amazon gift card from MNOW for completing a survey.
On 7.14, I received a $30 Amazon gift card from My Impact Network for completing a survey.
On 7.20, my wife received a $20 Amazon gift card from Amazon Preview for watching a movie and answering some questions about it.

Rental Income
On 7.5, we received a net profit of $550 from our rental property. 

Miscellaneous Income
On 7.1, my wife sold one of our old strollers for $60 cash through Facebook Marketplace.

Monthly Totals:
We earned $16.73 from cash back income
We earned $110 for completing online surveys
We earned $550 from rental income
We earned $60 of miscellaneous income

All of this totals $736.73 from our side hustles for the month of July!   I’m hopeful that scientists will continue to come up with ways to effectively treat coronavirus infections - we just have to be patient.  In the meanwhile, keep saving and investing!
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