On 10 Aug 2012
How Good Was My Advice?,
Bleh, the realtor bashing theme is getting kinda tired.
Greg, your advice was pretty sound this year, and it was sound back in 2009 when we met you at the time we short sold our home to a couple that you represented. My wife and I still appreciate how you helped us out with some problems that our own flailing agent couldn't sort out.
Truth be told, no one knows where anything is going to be in 1, 5, 10, 20 years, nor how fast it will get there and how. As long as you come across as honest, informed and not trying to make a quick buck then as far as I am concerned a realtor performs a very important service.
Unless everyone is going to take the time to purchase only FSBOs and represent themselves, then unfortunately they are going to have to enlist the help of a realtor. Personally I don't like the sting of paying all that money to realtors when often times they don't seem all that helpful, however, good realtors can really help smooth what is usually a very stressful process.
I hope you are keeping busy enough to pay the bills and feed the family. We all have to earn a living, and you have earned my respect. On 17 May 2012
Demand All Medical Bills In Advance!,
Geez guys. So much anger here. That last comment from suspiria_2 is so full of misinformation, that I would not know where to begin responding to it, so I won't.
Getting back to my initial response to this post, I am concerned about how folks here speak like "experts" on things that they don't seem to understand. I think you might be better off sticking to housing issues, as there is a lot more room for creative interpretation.
I am all about spewing out your anger and venom in the form of subjective negativity about whatever topic you desire (I think it is quite healthy to externalize it that way) but it was an eye opener to see how passionate some folks get about topics that they don't know much about- I fear that the uninitiated might be misinformed by it.
When I initially came onto Patrick.net it was to learn about the bear market, and I think it did it's job. I knew really nothing, and had bought a house at the peak. Mostly through the links, and some of the posts, I gained a decent understanding of the housing market. I can now smell the trolls and uneducated with regards to housing topics. Obviously I can also recognize those who are speaking about healthcare and not making any sense.
Actually I just got word (yesterday in fact) that our short sale purchase has been approved by the bank, so we are moving out of our rental and into a house. I had stuck around here until the last minute, because I wanted to find solace in the permabear links to balance the stress of not knowing if the short sale would go through, as I would have continued renting in that case.
Now that I am in escrow, it means I will turn off Patrick.net, and start reimbibing the Kool Aid from the mainstream media about where real estate is going, because up, up, up, sounds good at this point even if that opinion would be as off base as some of the healthcare comments expressed in this post.
On that note, I would definitely encourage everyone to educate themselves about the medical system as it is truly a major issue, and unlike realtors, it will be very, very hard for you to avoid interacting with the medical system over the course of your lifetime.
For those of you who are following along with the comments, and are in need of some expert advise from a real physician, who actually cares about his patients I will give you a few cost saving tips. It is also what I do myself and for my family.
1. Look at highest deductible plans, but make sure they are not scam type plans that don't give you any real benefits. They will be your best bet for a low cost monthly plan. They are still overpriced, and padding the insurance companies pockets but they are better than the others. They are considered "catastrophic" and will cover the huge bills you would incur if you get hospitalized. Also, and equally important, you get access to the cheaper "negotiated" rates that the insurance companies force physicians to accept, so your out of pocket will be in many cases, very reasonable.
2. Try to avoid a prescription plan, and whenever possible buy generic medications. Target has a large selection of $4 a month prescriptions.
3. Unlike the Patrick's original post, or many of the comments here, all physicians have a fee schedule. Many will give you a very fair price for consult (if you are not an asshole) to help you out.
4. If you need a surgery, look for a doc who can do it in an ambulatory surgery center. Much easier to negotiate a lower price, as the bloated hospital facility charges will not be relevant. Keep in mind though it still won't be cheap.
5. Don't expect to get your gallbladder taken out for the price of a dinner for four at Cheesecake factory. Not going to happen. If you are going to pay out of pocket, expect to pay at least what you would pay to get your transmission rebuilt. Need a bypass surgery? Don't get to upset if you have to forgo the kitchen remodel, or purchasing a Kia to cover the bill.
6. Lose weight, watch your stress, don't smoke, watch your diet, exercise a bit, have no more and no less than 1 drink a day. Sheesh, if you all did that how much would you (and the country) save on health care?
7. Stay out of emergency departments. Extremely expensive. However, all ED's are obligated to care for you without regard to ability to pay, i.e. they cannot refuse to treat you, HOWEVER, they will also bill you exorbitant fees after they provide the care. You can negotiate those fees down after the fact, but you are going to be starting with very very high fees to begin with.
8. Urgent cares are reasonable alternatives to the ED, although many times they will just send you to the ED after seeing you there, especially if you have high risk complaints like abdominal pain (may be appendix), chest pain (may be heart attack) shortness of breath (may be PE, etc.). This is because of concerns about missing a serious diagnosis and the urgent cares do not have the resources of an ED.
Good luck, and REALLY follow #6. If you are a bloated, stressed out, unhealthy person, don't complain about how much it costs to try to fix the damage you are doing to your own body.