Archive for October, 2006

Baby Pool Entries

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

In case I missed you with my vast email distribution net, you can enter the official Baby Dauernheim Baby Pool by filling out this form and mailing it in with your entry fee. You can also just make a standard college fund contribution too, if you'd like.
Almost forgot to mention: For Ellie's baby pool, we got 45 entries, resulting in a $112.50 windfall for the winner, Wendy Ratkowski. (Who promptly donated her winnings to Ellie's college fund. Not that there's any pressure on the winner to do so. Just saying, it was a nice thing to do. Ahem.)

Benefits Redux

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

I finally got around to calling up our insurance company today. It turns out that I think we may have misread the letter we got from them. They are actually covering us for the home birth, but only at out-of-network rates. The letter we got said that they would not cover Birthcare at in-network rates.
Honestly, that's pretty much what I expected. What I was scared of was that they were saying that they were not covering us at all. So it's something of a relief that we will at least be covered at 60% like we had calculated when signing up for this health insurance.

Fall Cleaning

Monday, October 30th, 2006

We're still getting things ready for the arrival of Baby #2. This past weekend, we headed out to Home Depot and bought new blinds for the office. For 5 years now, we've been using these ugly tan curtains, which were fine, because for the most part, they were blocked from view by my desk. But since we moved my desk away from the windows, the curtains were painfully ugly, so we replaced them with some cheap, but better looking white blinds.
The whole room has completely changed its look with just some minor touchups like the blinds and the new wall storage system. (We do still need to buy something to hide the wires running along the floor though, since the desk is now on the opposite wall from the outlets) It's a lot brighter, and seem much bigger too. It works well for having the changing table there, so that we don't have to wake Ellie with midnight diaper changes, and still has plenty of room for using the computer, paying bills, etc. We've even got a bit of room left to put the La-Z-Boy rocking chair in there too.
Lisa is also almost done with her "birth box": the box of supplies we will need for the home birth. We're still working on getting things straightened out with the insurance company (they'll be getting an earful from me tomorrow), but we're going ahead regardless. There's no way Lisa's going back to a hospital now. So she's gathered lots of fun stuff, which I will not delve into here, due to the somewhat gross nature of some of them, and put it all into a box for the big day.
We also cleared out a lot of the clutter we've been accumulating in the 5 or so years we've been living in this house. The Lupus Foundation came and collected a bunch of it today, 3 big boxes and a big bag, plus two lamps. Hopefully we surpassed the statute of limitations for wedding gifts that we stored and never used before giving them away. Seriously, there's only so many picture frames a person needs.
One last thing that I know you will find interesting. Lisa is obviously not going to be trick-or-treating this year, so she is going to stay home and give out candy. Dressed as a pumpkin. She's had a pumpkin T-shirt for a long time, and this is the perfect opportunity to make good use of it. Pregnant belly + Pumpkin T-shirt = Hilarity! Pictures to follow.

On Hold

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I may have to take back my praise for our insurance company. We got a letter last night which contradicted what we were told by the finance guy at our last appointment. He had told us that the insurance company was going to start a contract with them, and that we would be covered under the plan, even though it would be "out-of-network." The letter says they reviewed our "request for coverage" and denied it because they have other providers on their list. Among them, the, ahem, "midwife" who induced Lisa unnecessarily with Ellie. Apparently they think that the midwives at the hospital are the same as the midwives we are seeing, who do home births and more. Clearly, we beg to differ. The midwife at the hospital was a glorified nurse who really wanted to be a doctor, not someone who was willing to let nature run its course and do what the mother wanted rather than whatever standard practice was at the hospital.
Needless to say, we're ticked about this, but we will have to call up the midwives to find out what the deal is. The crazy thing is that we are doing what we are supposed to do under a "consumer-driven" health plan. We're taking our health decisions into our own hands, and actually trying to save the insurance company money (home birth is much cheaper than a 2-3 day required stay at a hospital). Ugh.

Insurance Comes Through

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

In July, we signed up for a new insurance program. It's one of the new so-called "consumer-driven" insurance programs, and it sounded like it would be ideal for us. It's turning out to be better than we thought.
One of the unique things is that you don't pay co-pays, ever. They start you off with a $1500 Health Reimbursement Account. Everything insurance related gets taken out of there first. If you don't use it up, it rolls over to the next year, and you yourself pay nothing out-of-pocket. Obviously, with a birth approaching, that doesn't apply to us. So after that money is used up, you have to pay $1500 of your own money toward a deductible. Not a big deal, as we set up our Flexible Spending Account to cover that. After all that, it works like a "normal" insurance company, covering 90% in-network or 60% out.
The nice thing is that you don't ever need referrals. If you think you need to go to a certain doctor, you go, and they cover it. Since we are having this baby at home with the help of the midwives at BirthCare, we were wondering how the insurance was going to handle this. Normally, the people at BirthCare require you to pay for everything up front, but we obviously wanted them to hit our HRA first, so that it would get used up, etc. So their finance guy calls up the insurance to figure out how to do it, and the insurance company says they will cover the home birth costs directly! So BirthCare is sending them the bill, and they will take care of anything. Now that's what I call consumer-driven. They realize that it'll be cheaper for them that we are taking the initiative and having the baby at home and avoiding the hospitals, and they're going to pay for it.
This was a huge relief for us, and obviously I can't recommend United Healthcare enough.