Friday, December 9, 2011

Flexible Benefits...

Crapshoot or wise financial pre-tax savings?

I'm sure most of you know what a flexible benefits plan is...but if not, here it is in a nutshell: a flexplan allows you to allocate salary dollars - pretax - towards payment of family health and dental insurance premiums, as well as out-of-pocket medical, dental, vision care and child care expenses...blah, blah, blah. The thing is, if you don't use up what you allocated, you'll never see those $$ again.

Last year, Financially-Sound-Poppy had me "guesstimate" how much I should put aside for the flexible benefits plan. I called my dentist and asked how much work I'd need to have for the year. Turned out to be something like $1,600. So, that's the pre-tax amount I had deducted from my paycheck.

I hate going to the dentist and I managed to put this off until...well, now. In November, I fessed-up to Don't-You-Dare-Throw-Money-Away-Poppy that I hadn't used any of my flexible spending. That didn't go over very well. She made me find out how much I had allocated cause I'd forgotten. Then she said I had to use it up by the end of the year.

That's what I've been doing now since the end of November. So far, I've had one filling and since I had so much $$ I decided to get the night guard Dr.-Dreamy-Farmer has been harping about. I guess I grind my teeth while I sleep. That night guard costs $700 and isn't covered by insurance.


Prior to this, I went to Sports Authority and bought one of those moldable mouth pieces. I tried it, but I guess I snore a little and I tried to swallow the thing. Hey, how can I snore and grind my teeth at the same time? Hmmm.

Anyway, yesterday I went to pick up the night guard, but I had the sinking feeling that I was having more work done than that. I asked Dennis, Dr.-Dreamy-Farmer's assistant, what I was having done. He said I was getting the night guard and prepping for two crowns...and that I'd be there for a couple of hours!!

I think he could tell I wasn't mentally prepared for that. He asked "Would you like some nitrous." I said "Um, OKAY!" I guess I must have fallen asleep (okay, passed out) somewhere in the middle of my prep cause I woke up to both of them looking at me laughing. I suppose I either burped, was snoring or farted. I was too embarrassed to ask.

Anyhow, the night guard is pretty cool. Reminds me of when I was a kid and had to wear a retainer. Poppy wondered if it would help with my alleged snoring. I think it makes it worse cause when I suck in air, it goes through the guard and makes this really weird noise.

After I was all done, I went out to see Denise to get my next appointment and to figure out the grand total of how much I've spent to date...$1,583.10. Nailed it!!

I think I've only got a few teeth left that don't have crowns, so I'm only going to gamble away $500 for next year!

Keep smiling!

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