Dealing With Skin Eczema In A Bitter Cold Winter

For the last couple of years, I’ve suffered from skin eczema, particularly over the winter months where the cold, dry air exposes my already vulnerable skin to a greater potential of outbreak.

In the three years it’s really affected me, this has been the coldest winter we’ve had.  I’m happy to say, though, that it’s also been the winter that has had the least impact on me.  I think I’ve finally found balance!

The first year I had problems, there was a spot next to my mouth that got very red, very raw, and very itchy.  I spent the first few weeks in denial, figuring it would just go away.  I finally went to my family doctor at the time, who gave me a cream that only seemed to aggravate the issue.  He then referred me to a dermatologist.  As it was my first time ever visiting a dermatologist, I figured maybe it was normal that it took quite a few visits to get seemingly nowhere.  He had me try two other creams (neither of which worked particularly well), he made me get skin patch testing to see if any particular chemicals might be causing it (inconclusive), and recommended that I change many of the personal hygiene products I used.

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The Decision

OK, so my decision isn’t as captivating and probably won’t cause as much drama as Lebron’s did earlier in the year, but I thought I’d share it anyways!

A few weeks ago I noted that our health care options came out and that none of them looked all that appealing, with our costs going up in a big way.

There were three options available to us for next year:

High Deductible Plan / HSA Compatible
Annual Premium: $2,400
Deductible (out of pocket before coverage kicks in): $3,750
Then They Cover: 80%
We Still Pay: 20%
Max Out of Pocket: $10,000

Exclusive Provider Option
Annual Premium: $6,000
Deductible: $0
Then They Cover: 90%
We Still Pay: 10%
Max Out Of Pocket: $1,500 per person max $3,750 total

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2011 Health Care Costs Looks Bad

They sent out some preliminary information about our health care options for 2011 and I have to say, they look worse than I had even imagined.

Last week, I wrote about how I was getting nervous about our options.

From the looks of things, they are altogether canceling the option that we had, which was a PPO with no deductible as long as we stayed in network.

The PPO option that they do have is much more expensive, the coverage is reduced, co-pays are higher, and there is a $500 per person deductible.

They also have an HMO type option, but that is actually the most expensive option and doesn’t really provide all that much more coverage.  It’s obvious they don’t want people to use that.

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Getting Nervous About Our Health Care

Right around now is when we typically get information about our benefits for open enrollment on our health care plan.

I’m getting a little nervous for two reasons:

  • We haven’t heard anything yet
  • The ‘promise of same’ could come to an end
  • Others working for different companies have reported changes due to ‘Obabmacare’

Let me explain:

The first point is pretty obvious.  The longer you wait on something where the costs and coverage are unknown and can be so variable, the more you start thinking that ‘No News Is Definitely NOT Good News’.

The second point has to do with our company.  Our unit was spun off into a separate company in 2008, at which point we were told that the benefits would remain largely transparent for the foreseeable future.  In 2009, they actually hadn’t finished the spin-off so we still got the exact same plan and beneifts.  In 2010 they lived up to the promise and kept the benefit levels the same (though they did switch providers).  Now that they’re over two years out from that, there is always the chance that the benefits get whacked changed.

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