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Once Again, Our HSA Saves The Day!

As promised, I'm back with an update on the current status of the medical bills from my son's recent four-day hospital stay and our strategy for paying them off.  First and most importantly, he's doing really, really well since his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis! He's consistently stayed on top of his blood glucose monitoring, carb counting, and insulin injections, and his blood sugar readings have mostly been in his target range for the past two weeks. He's regained his energy and is back to his old self. He even managed to knock out two AP exams right after he got out of the hospital. Pretty impressive for a teenager who's been living with this condition for only a month!  Predictably, at this point the medical bills are starting to roll in. Our current grand total for diabetes-related expenses is $48,818. This includes the hospital stay, labs, and prescriptions as well as bills for some of the specific ER, PICU, and peds doctors who managed his care while he was a
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A Shockingly Good Insurance Surprise

Healthcare insurance update: I misunderstood my schedule of benefits (by "misunderstood," I mean that I gave the benefits summary nothing more than a cursory glance when I selected our plan at the end of last year because hey, we're healthy, we eat our veggies, we probably won't even USE this insurance, so I don't need to read this document! Haaaaaahahahahaha.)  Lo and behold, it turns out that although we haven't met our family deductible, we have met my son's individual $5000 deductible, and as a result,   all of his medical expenses -- including his prescriptions! -- should be 100% covered for the remainder of 2022.  I'm not sure I've EVER had an insurance plan that covers 100% of in-network and pharmacy expenses once the deductible is met. Talk about a healthcare unicorn! This means that: 1. we can continue to pay down the student loan in big chunks. (I want it goooooone) 2. much of the $600/month I'm putting into my HSA can be used to me

Well! So That Was April.

Happy spring! Here in the $76K household, April turned out to be a rather eventful month: 1. Our teenager ended up in the ICU and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  File this situation under "Things We Would Have Never Predicted," especially given that he was rarely ill up until now. In fact, it had been so long since we'd seen his doctor that the man had retired in the meantime and we had no idea until the ER team asked for the name of his primary care physician. 2. As a result, we've been learning and trying new things. Since he was released from the hospital, we've been learning as much as we can about T1D and working with his doctors to get his blood sugar into a healthy range. This has involved frequent blood glucose checks (his fingers have become pin cushions, basically), insulin injections, and some dietary modifications. It's a lot of responsibility for a 15-year-old who's also in the middle of final exams, but he's handled it amazingly wel

A Peek At Our Monthly Insulin Costs

Before my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I was generally aware of the overblown price of insulin but admittedly hadn't paid much attention to the details of this particular issue. Now that it's become personal, that has, of course, changed. According to the JDRF, insulin can cost upwards of $300 per vial and $1000 per month , which is bananas considering that a) people with Type 1 diabetes literally depend on insulin for their survival and b) back in 1923,  the inventors of insulin sold their patent for just $1  because they believed everyone who needs it should have access to this lifesaving drug.  Keep in mind that insulin is not optional when you have T1D, an autoimmune disease that as far as we know is unpreventable. Before insulin's invention, people diagnosed with T1D lived for only months, maybe a year at most. You can't lifehack your way out of this chronic illness and insulin is a must. Nowadays, drug companies make big bucks off insulin. Are there pr

An Unexpected Emergency & A Change In Plans

My 15-year-old son started feeling sick at the beginning of April. First he had a cold (or maybe allergies), which morphed into relentless exhaustion and general malaise. He cut back on his favorite hobby, climbing, as his energy dipped. He was constantly hungry and always thirsty. Several missed school days, one visit to urgent care, and a handful of negative diagnostic tests (mono, covid, and strep) later, he still felt terrible. When he developed sudden and excruciating stomach pain, we rushed him to the ER, where he received IV fluids and had his blood drawn. The immediate verdict: Type 1 diabetes.  Also, he was in diabetic ketoacidosis, which can lead to coma and death, so he had to be admitted immediately. I've never seen medical professionals go from 0 to 100 so quickly! He spent a couple of nights in the PICU and another two days in the general pediatrics ward. While in the hospital, our whole family received an intensive crash course in diabetes: what it is, why and when i

I Got a Raise!

A bit of good personal news: I found out I earned a 10 percent raise after my recent performance review, bringing my salary to $55K!  This follows on the heels of the 11 percent raise that came with my promotion at the end of last year. In total, my earnings are now approximately 20 percent over what they were a year ago. I hope that doesn't sound braggy. I've struggled with almost every job I've ever had, so to be in this position for this long and to be doing well in a role is a real triumph for me. I'm proud of myself. A recap of my recent job history: until the end of 2020, I was working part-time as an adjunct faculty member at a local college. The flexibility was nice, but like many folks who teach at the college level, I was paid a pittance and received no benefits whatsoever. When COVID hit and my partner quit his teaching job, I busted my butt to get a full-time position, which eventually led me to customer service for my current company.  They offered me $45K

The Ultimate Goal: To Be Completely Debt Free By End Of Summer

Almost exactly five years after starting our debt payoff journey, it looks like we're finally -- FINALLY! -- in the home stretch. We're aiming to be completely debt-free by the end of this summer! Taking a look back: In April of 2017, we were in debt to the tune of more than $76K: One car loan ($1,800) Two student loans ($53,000 combined) Three high-interest credit cards ($22,000 combined) Plus a campground membership that we didn't discuss much ($5,000) Soooooo yeah, more like $82K-ish, if we're being completely honest. That's a substantial number, but we were all in on bringing the total to zero. At first, we made relatively quick progress: The car loan was paid off in October 2017. We paid off all of our credit card debt in July 2018 . I paid off my student loan (approximately $12K) in January 2019 . We obliterated the campground membership in November 2019 . That left the last remaining item: the student loan elephant in the room, which accounted for nearly half