There are easier ways to make $200…

There are lots and lots and lots and lots of better ways to make money than to go to the Emergency Room with chest pain and shortness of breath.

It started Sunday night, when for the second time in my life I (Apparently?  Hopefully?) had heartburn.  The first time (several years ago), I thought I was having a heart attack, but thought I’d  go get some Tums and see if perhaps it was that heartburn stuff I’d heard about over the years.  The Tums did nothing for me (and didn’t years later when I was pregnant, either!), so I went back out and bought some Pepcid, with the plan that if I didn’t feel better in an hour I’d go to the ER.

Pepcid, lovely product that it is, worked in twenty minutes.

So,  when I started experiencing chest and back pain on Sunday night I popped a Pepcid.  And, because one of my dearest friends had a heart attack at age 44 just three months ago, I sent Husband to the store for baby aspirin, just in case.  I chewed 4 baby aspirin, and promptly fell asleep.

Well, that wasn’t  smart.

But, I did.  And when I got out of the bed the next morning my chest felt a bit tight.  And when I started huffing and puffing just walking from the refrigerator to the microwave to the sink I thought something might be wrong.  Seriously wrong.  I called Husband, and we decided, “better safe than sorry”.  I arranged for my sister-in-law to come pick up Son, and went to the Emergency Room.

Funny thing.  Mention the words “chest pain” and “shortness of breath” and your ass will be in a wheelchair so fast you won’t notice the dirty looks of the other ER patients-in-waiting as you are whisked immediately into treatment bed 6.   I made sure to tell the doctor it was  “probably heartburn or a little anxiety”  because, well,  G-d forbid he think I’m a hypochondriac.  He wasn’t impressed by my Curriculum vitæ as regards medical training (watching Marcus Welby, MD, ER and Quincy do not an MD make, apparently).  One EKG later and the doctor admitted me, even though my EKG showed no abnormality.  Seems the heart likes to play coy and only sometimes shows trouble on an EKG.    I was admitted for more tests and for observation.


While I waited for a room, I was treated to an array of visitors.  There was the girl from registration, who wanted my drivers license and insurance card (smart girl that I am, they’re the only 2 things I brought to the hospital).   Patient relations came for a visit  (Did I need anything?  Yes – how do I make sure that everyone who touches me is covered under my insurance?  She blanched, ran from the room never to be seen again.)  And, surprise, the Chief Financial Officer of the hospital.  He “didn’t want any money from me”, just wanted to see how I was doing (Seems my bigwig brother sits on the Patient Relations Board, called the COO, who made sure I was taken care of.  And, ahem, that got me a private room, never mind that it was at 3 am).

So, while I waited for a room I called my insurance company, who verified that I needn’t worry who  touched me (well, not for insurance reasons, anyway).  Because I was at a participating hospital, and because I was admitted from the Emergency Room, everything was 100% covered.  And my ER deductible was waived because I was admitted.

I was quite relieved, having read about and experienced (while handling the insurance claims from my stepmother’s final hospital stay) horror stories about in-hospital services and doctors’ bills being  not covered or covered at much higher out-of-network rates.  I am seriously hoping the information I was  given was accurate.


And so began a twenty-four hour odyssey of tests and blood draws and two room changes and massive headaches-as-side-effects-of-medications and sleeplessness and really bad food (there was a hamburger that looked suspiciously like the roadkill I’d noticed in the parking lot as I walked to the ER), but at least all of the personnel I dealt with were top rate, at least I had a private room (thanks BW!) and at least I’ll be making money on the deal.

How?  Well, remember the Hospital Income policy I told you about?  Yes, well, I get to put a claim in for my lovely day in the hospital.

There are easier ways to make $200.  Perhaps next time I’ll try something that doesn’t involve needles.


Hospital Income Policy A Terrific Buy For My Family – How About Yours?

The following information is not advice, it’s just my thoughts and opinions. I’m just a girl on the web, not currently licensed in insurance or anything else in any state. You should absolutely seek the counsel of an insurance agent licensed in your state before taking any action at all. This is only a brief explanation of coverage. Modifications are applicable in some states. Coverages and programs discussed may or may not be available in your state.

Also know that I don’t work for State Farm any longer and am not being compensated in any way for this article. It’s just a good policy.

I love this policy. And them’s some strong feelings about an insurance policy. I promised you all I would tell you about it, so here it is.

I’m not sure if I’d have discovered this policy if I hadn’t been working for State Farm as an insurance agent. It’s not well publicized, but it can be a terrific part of anyone’s health insurance portfolio.

What is it?

If you’ve ever been hospitalized you know that there are expenses your primary health insurance just doesn’t cover. Additionally the inconvenience of simply being hospitalized means additional expenses for you and your family. Things like:

  • Deductibles and Co-insurance
  • Private Room and Private Duty Nursing Fees
  • Transportation
  • Child Care
  • Lawn & House Care
  • Meals Out
  • Pet Care

State Farm’s Hospital Income policy helps provide the money you’ll need to pay for those extra expenses when you’re hospitalized. It can offer you an ideal way to supplement your health insurance coverage.

If you are hospitalized for a covered injury or sickness (and really, there aren’t many exclusions) the policy pays the selected hospital income amount (mine’s $100/day*, but I wish I’d taken more!) for up to 365 days of confinement in a hospital.

One of the exclusions is for normal pregnancy and childbirth. However, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are covered. When I had Son I needed an emergency Cesarean Section, so my five day hospital stay was covered. Son had some minor complications so his stay was covered, too. He was automatically covered at birth as long as I added him to the policy (and paid the additional premium) within thirty days of his birth. It also covered his three day RSV induced hospital stay when he was 21 months old – the longest days of my life.

When Intensive Care is needed the policy pays an additional benefit equal to the hospital income amount not to exceed 14 days. So for me that means I get an additional $100 per day if I’m in ICU.

One of my former coworkers has a $200 per day policy. When her daughter was born six weeks prematurely she was in the pediatric intensive care unit for three weeks, then hospitalized another two. With her own hospital stay, her daughter’s hospital stay and the extra $200 per day she received for 14 of the 21 days her daughter was in intensive care my coworker received over five thousand dollars from her hospital income policy – enough so that she could stay home with her, unpaid, until her daughter was off a heart monitor and able to be placed in daycare so she could return to work.

Can you imagine the financial disaster she would have suffered if not for this spectacular little policy?

When Extended Care is needed the policy pays half the hospital income amount (so for me that would be $50 per day) for up to sixty days per calendar year while in a qualified Extended Care Facility. In most states extended care must begin within 14 days after at least a three day hospital confinement.

But that’s not all. And that’s not even my favorite part of the policy.

When you are injured accidentally the policy pays up to five times the hospital income amount (in my case up to $500) for x-rays or emergency first aid if received within 72 hours of the injury. If I have over $500 in emergency room or doctor costs, I get $500. If the bills are less than $500 I get whatever the bill amounts to.

I have used this portion of the policy many, many times. In the last ten years there have been at least three car accidents (none my fault!) that have ended in emergency room visits and one broken arm (on January 7th, so my $500 primary policy deductible had not yet been met). Each of those (and there may be more events I’m just not recalling right now) netted me $500.

There was also an incident, when Husband and I were trying to conceive Son, where I stepped wrong and broke a few toes. I wasn’t sure if it was just my toes or if my foot was broken, too, so I went to the ER (if I’m going to be in so much pain I may as well get paid for it!). I wouldn’t allow them to do X-rays (I could have been pregnant). The doctor assured me my foot wasn’t broken, taped my toes together and billed me $420. My primary insurance paid 90% (I’d met my yearly deductible, and my co-insurance was reduced because I went to an in-network hospital), so after paying my co-insurance I pocketed $378.

Isn’t that fab?

And if you have kids you know how often accidents happen. We’ve already collected from the policy twice for Son, including the incident last summer when he thought it would be fun to shove a rock up his nose. That sucker was wedged up there.

And there’s more.

When outpatient surgery is needed the policy pays the hospital income amount ($100 for me) for outpatient surgery not otherwise covered by outpatient benefits.

This is probably the part of the policy we’ve used most. Any outpatient surgery is covered. We’ve collected for all three of my colonoscopies and Husband’s one, his cardiac catheterization, three of my cyst removals, several mole removals, skin cancers. It even covers skin tag removal, which is so much of a nothing I’ve taken them off myself (isn’t aging sexy?).

So if I really needed some money one month I could, if I were so inclined, go to the dermatologist and pay my $25 co-payment, have her remove a skin tag or two and file a claim under my Hospital Income policy. I’d make $75 on the deal. And have fewer skin tags. Not that I’ve done that just because I’m short of money.

But I could.

Yes. I get paid to go to the doctor. Isn’t that smashing?

What else to like about this policy?

The benefits start from the first day of confinement. No waiting period!

The money is paid directly to you, unless you say otherwise. You decide how the money is spent. Use it to pay your deductible, you coinsurance or go on a trip to Tahiti. You decide!

The money isn’t taxable income. It’s insurance policy proceeds, so not counted as income (There may be some odd rule somewhere that I’ve never heard about that may make this taxable some minute fraction of the population, so please ask your tax advisor for a definitive answer. After all, if I wanted to know everything there was to know about taxes I’d have become an accountant like my father!).

Family coverage is available. You can cover just yourself, or add your spouse and kids. Remember that newborns are covered automatically as long as you notify the company and pay the premium.

It’s not expensive. We cover all three of us for about $280 for the year, and we’re oldish. The premiums will vary based on your age(s) and the policy amount chosen. I’ve not had a year yet that I didn’t collect more than I’ve paid. Of course if it was that way for everyone the company couldn’t offer it! Also know that the premiums can and do increase periodically as you age.

The policy is Guaranteed Renewable. Except in the event of fraud, material misrepresentation, nonpayment of premium, or expiration of the policy.

This policy is a great supplement to today’s high deductible plans, and also a great option for anyone with a HSA plan (State Farm also offers one of those). It should obviously not be your only coverage. If you have State Farm Auto and no other insurance with them you’ll also get a discount on your auto insurance for buying this policy.

You do have to medically qualify for the plan, and there are exclusions. The medical qualification is the only thing that keeps me from increasing our policy amount – with Husband’s diabetes and Son’s asthma we’d get denied. Dadgummit!

So call your local State Farm agent and get a quote. Even if you don’t have any other State Farm coverage. It’s definitely worth looking into.

What A Pain in the Ass – or – Have Sharpie, Will Travel

If I ever have to have surgery under general anesthesia, I will bring a Sharpie marker to the hospital with me.

I will write on every available body surface to make sure the surgeon knows which body part is to be his or her focus.

I will write helpful notes on my cheeks, both facial and ass, to make sure the surgeon does not make a mistake (Husband may have to help with the ass, which is a surface so large he could helpfully write detailed instructions and a nicely worded thank you note, just to save paper) and operate on the wrong body part.


I don’t want to end up like this poor woman, who went in for a leg operation and ended up with a new anus.

Enough said.

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