My husband and I got married in December of 2005 and spent the first few years of our marriage enjoying each other without the responsibility of children. Then, after a few years, I found myself longing for a child of our own. Unfortunately, a giant roadblock stood in our way -- our health insurance plan did not cover maternity.
Those were the days before the new healthcare law commonly known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and Obamacare came into play. At the time, health insurance providers were not obligated to offer plans that covered maternity and those that did often charged ridiculous sums of money for a "maternity rider" that covered pregnancy and delivery. Unfortunately, I would soon find out just how hard it was to qualify for this kind of coverage in the pre-PPACA era.
Maternity coverage in the pre-PPACA era
From the beginning to the end, trying to secure the proper coverage to have a baby was a nightmare. I quickly learned that few insurance providers in Indiana offered policies on the open market that included maternity care, and the ones who did weren't exactly embracing new maternity customers with open arms. In fact, I applied to Anthem twice and was denied both times due to a back surgery I'd had in my early 20s. Because of my pre-existing condition, my insurance agent suggested that I wait five more months (until it had been five years since my surgery) to apply so that I wouldn't have to mention the surgery on my application.
I get frustrated when people don't understand what it means to be frugal. A few criticisms of frugality I've come across:
Frugality is a waste of time.
Frugality distracts you from earning more money.
A few months ago, I shared about how to survive without health insurance. To recap, I belong to a healthcare sharing ministry (HSM) called Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), just one of several ministries that are ACA-approved alternatives to health insurance. But I also want to share about my experiences with alternative health insurance to Obamacare.
What we belong to is not healthcare insurance; therefore, we don't pay a premium (although we pay a "gift" each month or what amounts to a deductible, except it's called a "personal responsibilty"). We chose this option because neither my husband nor I have access to an employer-sponsored plan. The most important consideration for us was cost, followed by coverage options. We opted for the most expensive level, which means that we have a $500 personal responsibility for each medical event that each of our family members experience on an annual basis.
Family of Five Pays $450 per Month for Health Insurance
At the time of the previous article, I was the only member of my family to belong, and I paid $150 per month. Now our entire family of five belongs for $450 per month. Even if our family size were to double, that is the maximum monthly contribution we'd have to make.
Laughter and hooting filled the house as my wife had Karen and a few other friends over for a mid-morning tea. (Such are the joys of retired life.) The chirping of a cell phone rose from the pile of purses on the sofa. Nobody paid it any attention -- whoever it is can leave a message was the general sentiment. Sure enough, the chirping stopped. But then they heard it again. The girls noticed it, paused, but went right on with their story.
Then the phone chirped again. "Whose is that? Don't answer it!" After the ruffling of half a dozen handbags, Karen held up her little chirper. "Sorry, guys. It's Rick." Then she added, firmly, "I'll call him back later." Back into its pouch in the purse the phone disappeared, just like a little kangaroo.
It rang again. "Hey, Karen, maybe you should see what Rick wants."
Last week I was out walking with a friend when she admitted she was scared she would never have kids.
"We'll never be able to afford them," she said as we made our way around the block and up the next street. She and her husband are about our age (and not getting any younger), and I could tell she was worried.
"Oh, I'm sure you'll figure it out," I said as I tried desperately to change the subject. That was terrible advice and I knew it, but it was the same advice someone had given me several years before. (And probably for the same reasons.)
Landlords and property owners have their fair share of problems: They have to manage, accommodate, repair, etc., their property. It's a lot of responsibility, and with great responsibility comes great headache.
But it ain't all roses for renters, either. We've got rent increases, security deposits, and unannounced, inescapable construction. Last Saturday, I woke up to the sound of drilling on the wall next to which I sleep. It was 7:30 in the ever-loving morning!
As a renter, there are a handful of important laws and considerations that many of us overlook. At least, I know I've overlooked them. So I figured they were worth sharing. Here are some money-related things to keep in mind if you are a renter.
When we asked you how to improve Get Rich Slowly, you told us you'd like an article on "The horrible, terrible, no good, very bad reality of paying for fertility treatments." We can't fit all of that into one post, but we did ask Joanna Lahey, who gave us a series on health insurance, to give a broad overview of the issue in this guest post.
Joanna Lahey is an associate economics professor at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of the aforementioned institutions.
When I found out I suffered from infertility, I was lucky enough to be living in Massachusetts and was covered by a Massachusetts health insurance plan. Lucky because Massachusetts is one of the few states in the United States that mandates coverage of infertility treatment. Every test my husband and I went through and every treatment I underwent was completely covered by my insurance. After a year and a half of poking and prodding and medication and monitoring, I knew exactly what was wrong with me. My doctors were able to give the most conservative treatment options so I wouldn't have to worry about risks with names like "overstimulation" or "rupture" or "triplets." My only out-of-pocket costs were for HPT, OPK, and a fancy thermometer. 
Watching every penny is the starting point for getting rich slowly. But there are also big moves you can make that will earn or save you a lot of money. Big wins include refinancing your mortgage, negotiating your salary, improving your credit score or evaluating your car insurance. Your car insurance probably comes up for renewal every six months. When was the last time you compared insurance carriers or revised your policy to see if you could save a few hundred dollars? I thought so.
Des Toups, senior managing editor of Insurance.com (a QuinStreet site, like GetRichSlowly.org), has a lot of good information and statistics about car insurance that we wanted him to share with the GRS community. So, here's Des!
Car insurance has only one real purpose: To stand between you and financial disaster.
There are a lot of really good reasons to have a life insurance policy, no doubt.
If you have children, they're dependent on your income. You want them to be taken care of should something ever happen to you. If your spouse stays at home with the kids, he or she is dependent on your income. If you stay home with the kids, your spouse is dependent on your "childcare services." (Obviously, you're more than just a service provider when it's your own children, but should something happen to you, your spouse would have to pay for childcare, which, as most parents can tell you, isn't cheap.)
Those are just a few examples of why life insurance might make sense.<
What do you spend most of your money on? For most people, their two biggest expenses are their home and car(s). If you remember the post comparing expenses in 1913 to 2012, you might recall the three things that Mr. Average spent most of his "raise" on were:
- Housing (36 percent of the raise)
- Income taxes (28 percent), and
- Transportation (24 percent)
A majority of the increase in transportation has, arguably, to do with that wonderful instrument of freedom -- the automobile.
The choices we make
Our spectrum of choice in cars is, of course, wider than a mile. Egotistas spend big on the latest model of the coolest car. Hollywood celebrities once flaunted their beblinged Cadillac Escalades at the annual Oscar ceremony. That was before the 2002 recession. When that hit, it suddenly wasn't cool any more to be seen piloting a behemoth slurping down rivers of Mother Earth's precious resources. That's when the curtain went up on the eco-friendly Toyota Prius, which Cameron Diaz and other stars rode to the 2003 big event in their sipply little Priuses. Overnight, saving the planet with the Prius became California Cool.<