A few data points from recent years:
1) A family practice we used to use in Western MA had 2 doctors but 9(?!) office staff, primarily for handling billing. They offered a 40% discount to “self-pay” patients if you paid on the spot instead of having their team deal with payments.
2) While self-pay, we had one bigish event in recent years: There were 10 separate bills from 2 different hospitals, 4 different doctors (ER docs, radiologists, anesthesiologists, orthopedic surgeons), etc. Discounts range from 0% to 60%.
3) While insured recently, we had one bigish event: There were 7 different bills. Same sort of story. It’s no less confusing when on a high-deductible plan than being un-insured because you still get a million bills. The only difference is you don’t need to ask the doctors/facilities to give you a break on the fees because the insurance company does that for you. Similar discounts. Roughly 0-60%.
4) It was cheaper to pay out of pocket while uninsured BUT it’s not exactly that simple because:
4.1) There are now state (and federal) fines for not being insured
4.2) Self-employeed people cannot deduct health care costs unless above 7.5% of income. But they can deduct premiums.
4.3) You can’t have a pre-tax HSA medical-bill savings account unless you have an insurance account.
4.4) Discounts are guaranteed and it’s a pain to deal with this.
5) Back in the olden days when on an HMO with no deductibles, this was alot simpler. Now of course, those plans cost a fortune. Equal to paying the premiums plus the full OOP (Out of pocket max) on most plans with deductibles. So it doesn’t make sense. Less paperwork though.
This is a mess.
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My 2014 inexpensive laptop buying advice….
Q: Dell, Acer, Asus — all used to make 7″ and 10″ netbooks. We have a great Dell netbook called the Dell Inspiron Mini 1010 from several years ago with Windows 7. It has a 10″ screen and no CD/DVD drive, but otherwise is a very functional laptop with a full-sized keyboard. Perfectly great for email and facebook and Netflix and youtube and such. Why don’t they make such things any more in 2014?
A: It seems like they do, it’s just that they call them inexpensive Ultrabooks now. For example, the Dell Inspiron 11 (Haswell/Intel Celeron 2955U based) looks great for $300.
Q: But what about a “chromebook” like the new Acer C270?
A: It’s a tradeoff. A Chromebook is much simpler, but if you are ever going to want to have the option to run actual Office apps or Steam or Minecraft or Portal, etc, etc. for video games (for example), then one has to go Ultrabook route.
Finally: One of my most important qualifications is a laptop must be dead-simple to install more RAM. Some laptops make this difficult, but with others one can do this in 3 minutes.
Just a note that our current theory on A’s sporadic stuttering (none for a while now) is that it was most likely due to an allergy/sensitivity to calcium propionate, a preservative used in bread. (Well, crappy/typical bread that we get only sometimes, hence the “sporadic”). We are in the beginning stages of re-introducing a few other things — like we might try raspberry jam, high in salicylates — but calcium propionate is my current theory. Well, and I suppose it could be a combo.
Regardless…. Food preservatives. Just say no.
Insulation by definition does not necessarily tighten up a house (think fiberglass batts) but many types of insulation do:
- spray foam
- foam board (as long as it is sealed at seams with the proper tape, and at edges with “good stuff” type spray foam.
So that’s been the story with the insulation we just added to this house:
- walls (there was none) => DENSE PACK CELLULOSE
- garage wall and ceiling separating garage from the house
- attic (loose fill cellulose, lots of spray foam filling up leaks everywhere, and some poly iso foam board on a few knee-wall areas touching living space)
Original blower door was 3000+ CFM50. The one today after the work was 1400 CFM50.
I am not sure I quite believe it, but we’ll see… I believe an inspector will also do a blower-door test.
- windows and doors
- cathedral ceiling (someday…. maybe 4″-6″ of polyiso right on the existing drywall, with new drywall over it?)
LINK: MASS SAVE
Interesting, Washington state has a new-building requirement for SLA — Specific Leakage Area
This is partly why we bought the minivan we did — it has ESC. I also see it is in the top 20 list for fewest driver deaths.
I believe IIHS also has a chart with injury statistics as well, though I assume it is correlated pretty well with the deaths one.
“Institute research shows that ESC reduces
fatal single-vehicle crash risk by 49 percent
and fatal multiple-vehicle crash risk by 20 percent
for cars and SUVs (see Status Report, June
19, 2010). It lowers the risk of a deadly crash
by 33 percent overall and cuts the risk of a fatal
single-vehicle rollover by 73 percent.”
More recently, more and more cars offer “forward collision warning and automatic braking systems”. That’s going to become like ESC — required (since 2012 in US).
So you are trying to choose between a Lego Chima and a Lego Hero Factory set? I don’t think there is any issue. Both are great. I mean, look at the amazon links above to see the endless pages of 5-star reviews parents have given the sets. Kids love them both. My boys (6 and 9) play with their Hero Factory and Bionicle sets for HOURS and HOURS.
The only thing with as much or more staying power in this house has been the 2-sets of 100-piece magnatiles we have.