Tag Archives: medical

Modern Marvel: The Electric Toothbrush

photo image courtesy of Amazon.com

I have always had one of those rotating motor toothbrushes- well, at least for the last five years.  My parents got it free with rebates and gave it to me.  It was interesting because the toothbrush head on that one was round.  Recently, my husband and I decided to get the Sonicare(c) toothbrushes since they’re all the rave and my husband really, really wanted one.  So, we took the leap and got the Sonicare Essence with Quadpacer (whatever that means).  Wow! 

All I can say is the first couple of times you use it, your mouth will tickle and vibrate and you will wonder if you can ever get used to all the weird sounds and vibrations.  After all, if you have never used an electric toothbrush, it is quite strange initially.  It’s been a week now, and I think I am in love with mine and even brush my teeth more often now.  It really does help your mouth feel clean and your teeth appear to look better.   My husband is raving about his.  Of course, it is probably all in our heads but speaking of heads, the toothbrush heads are quite nice and shaped like a real toothbrush, not round.  Of course, a pack of replacement heads are quite expensive, running $60.00 for just 6 of them, and the prices go up from there.

Some things to know about the price of the toothbrushes themselves- the best price we have found on this pack of 2 is Costco at $79.99 (this was with a $20 mfr rebate).  Amazon sells them for $95 and it just goes up from there.  Of course, the dental bills it saves you may be well worth it.  Most dentists recommend these brushes.  I can’t wait to use my WaterPik water flosser- also recommended by my dentist for those hard to reach back teeth.  If you have a flex spending account, neither of these are  covered so you will not get your money back on them from your flex spending account.  In any case, I think the electric toothbrush is great!  If you register for rebates at sonicare(c), you will get a rebate on the replacement brush heads and some other offers valued at almost $30.  If you have any questions, post them here and I’ll be sure to post an answer.   Happy Brushing!

Share

Health Care Flexible Savings Accounts- New Changes coming in 2011

This story is also featured @milehighmamas.com!  See it here
Please leave a comment or ask your tough questions there or here!

If you’re like me, you and/or your spouse have a flex spending account or health care spending account that you put money into, biweekly or monthly. These are great tools if you have anticipated expenses for the upcoming calendar year. For example, if you know you are going to have surgery or a large medical expense like new glasses, new contacts, etc., health care spending accounts or flexible spending accounts are a great way to save a little money. Here’s how it works: Because the money goes into these accounts pre-tax, the contribution is taken from your salary BEFORE it is taxed. Then, when it is paid out to you for eligible expenses, you are not taxed on this money either. It is a great tax shelter but… while that sounds great, read on because putting in too much can come back and bite you a bit as well.

For this calendar year, I overestimated a bit and put in WAY too much. I don’t know whether it was that we have less expenses or just that my new insurance was that much cheaper, but I continued with last calendar year’s amount and it turned out to be too much so as we embark on 2011, I am looking to spend well over $800 before March 15, 2011. Most flex spending accounts give you until March 15, 2011 to incur eligible expenses and they have to be submitted to the company running your Flexible Spending Account by a set deadline. Check with your company because it can be crucial to getting your hard-earned money back!

So how does all this work? Some companies offer a card- so it tracks what you pay in and tracks what you spend too. You get a debit card and you just charge your eligible expenses on that all year long. Many high deductible plans work that way as well. However, MOST companies who offer the flexible spending account require manual enrollment, and your health insurance numbers for paperless reimbursement AND a bank account for automatic deposits. Their websites are chalk full of information and you can track your spending/reimbursements on-line. You have to physically submit a receipt for over-the-counter and eligible items (read on- some OTCs are going away in January 2011 from automatic reimbursement so stock-up now) and then they review the items and pay you back. For example, for costs incurred on eyeglasses, you submit the receipt and you are paid back. For 2010, if you bought Tums, Advil, and cough drops, you have to remember to save the receipt and you get paid back but you have to submit the receipts along with your claim form. It’s a little tedious for working parents and most people in general to collect receipts, copy them, and then send them in manually (fax or postal mail) with their claim form which also has to have a lot of information. Frankly, sometimes it’s a nightmare to submit these! As far as prescriptions, dental and medical visits, if you use your insurance card, then there is generally a paperless reimbursement option so the money automatically appears in your checking or savings account. You have to set that up on-line or when you enroll. So, all in all, that is a painless process if the paperless reimbursement process is working as it should be.

Big change starting January 2011 that you need to be aware of: No more OTC meds like Advil© or its generic equivalent, Tylenol© or its generic equivalent, Tums©, Prilosec, etc., etc., will no longer be reimbursed without a doctor’s note. That’s right folks! If you have a headache and buy Ibuprofen, don’t bother saving the receipt unless accompanying that receipt you also have a doctor’s Rx for that headache medicine. Nice! So, if you are estimating what to put in this year, I would make sure you take out all those OTCs (I approximate AVGERAGE households average about $200 a year) unless you can get a doctor’s note for them. This is a hugechange and many people are re-calculating their costs for the 2011 Calendar Year. Many other things will still continue to require what is called a LETTER OF MEDICAL NECESSITY. These are a hassle too and I have been through a lot to get reimbursements for things my doctor prescribed. For example, if you have a doctor’s note to say buy a humidifier for your allergies, you will sometimes get hassled from the flexible spending account company for buying a more expensive model so you will then need to do a cost comparison and tell them why you bought this humidifier versus some $10.00 model. I kid you not.

So, in sum, there are pros and cons to a little tax savings. While this is a good program and I think people should put in what their estimated costs would be, I would urge you to calculate your spending for this past year and conservatively estimate next year’s because if you put in too much like I did this year, you are at risk for just outright losing that money and then you blow any tax advantage you may have received by putting the money in, in the first place.

With Flex and Health Spending Accounts like all financial accounts, accuracy & diligence is key- I think they are good if you are willing to put in the time to keep great records of your receipts, do the work of sending them in, and also are okay with running around collecting medical necessity letters and OTC Prescription letter if needed. Then you may make out okay. But, if you simply do not want to deal with it, only put in what your estimated true medical/dental/vision costs are for the year – that way you do not have a balance and you definitely do not want to lose the money. Happy Estimating!

Share

Review of West Denver Dentist & Dr. Mike Unser – Going to the Dentist is not that bad!

Dr. Mike Unser of West Denver Dentistry was referred to me by a friend more than a year ago and I have to say, he is the best dentist I have EVER had.  I have had dentists in the military and since then, I have been shopping around for dentists because it seems I always met quacks.  There was one near my house (can’t defame them) but horrible!  Same thing with this other lady I tried in Lakewood— she was horrible and their billing practices literally made my stomach turn. 

Dr. Baumgartner and Unser of West Denver Dentist are on the corner of Wadsworth and 20th and I have to say, not only are their hygienists knowledgeable and well-trained, the entire office atmosphere is amazing.  You are welcome from the beginning, billing issues are handled by Darcy and she is fabulous!  I have to say, in my years of experience with dentists in the military and outside of it, this is the best dental office I have encountered.  I would recommend them in a heartbeat! 

They also see kids and put them at ease.  Dr. Unser is a proud dad and makes all patients feel welcome.  Show them this and print out the below coupon, and tell them that Clueless in Colorado sent you to get a $20 credit as well.   You won’t regret it!  

Going to the dentist does not have to be all bad…. sure, some of it is bad- the drilling, the vibration of the drill, etc., but if you have a dentist that warrants his work and stands behind it with confidence, it sure does make it a whole heck of a lot easier!

Share

Since when did obesity become a good thing?

Since the birth of my first daughter I am just amazed at how obsessed pediatricians and parents alike are obsessed with the weight of their kids. I mean my kid is already in the 1 percentile and that ain’t good. She is only 23 months old and because she is thin, and was born tiny, she is basically getting failing grades already. If she were fat though, she’d be in the 90 percentile and yes, that is considered good. So, if my child were fat and chunky and at risk for diabetes and other diseases that strike the obese, I would get a pat on the back- good job! Sure, your kid is almost 2 and not walking because of the giant fat legs but hey, at least he or she is well fed. What?? Are you kidding?

I am amazed in this day and age that doctors and parents alike are concerned with how fat their child is and not in the way you think- it is all about how much weight they can put on and how fast. Even though my toddler eats reasonably most of the time, she does not gain weight. She is, however, taller than her peers. She towers over even kids her own age or older than her. However, that is not something to be commended. Rather, the doctor focuses on weight. My mother in law is obsessed with it as well and while she is always comparing all her grandkids even though each is unique, I find it humorous that she really takes pride in calling the two grandkids who are good eaters from HER side of the family. I do not know if I would brag about the fat kids being from my side of the family- I do not think that is a good thing. Needless to say, the battles rage on and I too have fallen prey to all the rhetoric and tend to weigh my newborn all the time. It is a sickness really. I want to win the competition after all even though I really do not think it is a healthy competition to begin with… nonetheless, like everything else in life, it is a race to the finish!

Share

100% all Natural

I am prefacing this blog by stating that this is my experience and of course, from what little data I have gathered, I do believe this to be the case. Of course, if you have some evidence to dispute the below, I would love your comments.

Recently, I had my second child and therefore, decided pretty early on in the pregnancy that I was going to 100% natural this time. I did more data gathering this time, hired a doula (which I should have done the first time), and delved into the effects of epidurals, medications, and other medical interventions during child birth. I was amazed to learn that if you take any of the above before you are in active labor, that labor and delivery could be slowed down significantly. Moreover, anything taken before active labor can pass directly to the baby and thereby effect the baby’s development too. This time labor and delivery was a lot quicker and while there is no pain-free labor and delivery, I have to say I was better prepared. I knew what labor pains would feel like and I was able to manage pain better. I knew about the progression of labor and the dilation and knew anything taken before I was at least 5 cm would slow down labor and possibly harm the baby. I also had hired a doula to help with pain management at the hospital and advocate for me. All in all, I have to say this time around, the entire experience was better and my recovery was 10 times quicker. Last time, I remember not being able to walk properly or do much for over 2 weeks post-partum. This time, I was up and ready within hours and the next day, was on my own, able to breastfeed a baby who was eager to feed, and was ready to head home.

This time my labor and delivery was 100% natural. Last time, I got to the hospital too early and to help me sleep and manage pain they offerred me morphine. I was only 1 cm dilated so of course, that slowed down labor – granted, the pain still continued and the meds did nothing for the pain. I was groggy, exhausted, and of course, the same can be said for the baby- she was also taking in the morphine and that may have contributed to late development for her as she did not feed right away, lost a lot of weight and to this day has issues with feeding and sleep. My sister-in-law reports different experiences with her births too. For the first, she took an epidural. I am not sure when but from how she explained it, early. While I am not associating all medical intervention with slow labor and delivery, post-recovery issues, and baby development issues, I think there is something to be said about 100% natural child birth and all of the above. Her second son was born free of intervention and from what I hear, a better eater, a better breast feeder, and even a better sleeper.

I have noticed the same this time with my second child- she is a better eater, is gaining weight, and a much better sleeper. Not that my first child was a terror- she was not. She was a great baby too but this one is just doing better and was more alert from the time of birth. I would love to do more empirical and statistical data gathering on this matter because of my own experience on the issue and I have even talked with my husband about becoming a doula part-time in the future to spread this knowledge and experience. I would love to help other women who are having children to go natural – it is truly the best thing for mother and child.

Share