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Daily Living and Thoughts

Daily Living and Thoughts

Old Nov 30th 2015, 9:35 pm
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Default Daily Living and Thoughts

Hello there,

Well after YEARS of thinking about moving to the USA and subsequent job searches from across the Atlantic (neither my husband or I are risky enough to just go there without a job), we finally have a job offer on the table. It's not perfect, but timely as my husband was let go from his previous job a few weeks ago due to a company restructure. It's a contract to hire job with a 1-year initial contract. He also received a perm job offer locally today as well....so we have a lot to think about (and more importantly, to be grateful for).

Now that there is a real opportunity in the US (the job is in Fort Mill, SC), we are starting to think about what our daily lives would be like (we are originally from the US but have naturalised in the UK and my husband has lived here for 20 years and I have been here for 13).

So, some of the things we are thinking about (well I am anyway) are how bothered we would actually be in our daily lives about guns and the horrific shootings in the US, medical care, lack of holiday, etc.

How is it for you? Do these things really bother you in your daily lives? if not, what does?

For those of you in the Fort Mill/Charlotte area - did you find it difficult to settle there? What's the traffic like? Do you like living there? Dislike? What's the good and bad we should consider?

TIA for any thoughts/experiences

Last edited by jenninedinburgh; Nov 30th 2015 at 9:44 pm.
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Old Nov 30th 2015, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Shootings are not something I spend much time worrying about - like it or not, as a purely factual observation, shootings are almost entirely gang and/or drug related, and this is especially true of the Charlotte area. Unless you go out of your way to make high risk friendships, purchase illegal drugs, or otherwise hang around the "wrong part of town" after dark, IMO you have little to worry about. ..... That said I knew nothing about murders and murderers in the UK, but since moving here I have met, to talk to, two people who were subsequently murdered, and known fairly well, two men who went on to commit three murders. Maybe I spend too much time in the wrong part of town. Curiously, among the killers and killings, only a single one was a shooting.

So far as the greater Charlotte area goes, it is pretty easy to settle into because so many people there have moved from elsewhere. The rush hour traffic isn't bad, unless you are commuting from south Charlotte/South Carolina into downtown Charlotte, in which case it can take about an hour, by every account I have heard. There is a light rail station (with free parking) close to the SC state line, near I77, which I would take if I needed to make that journey.

Most people in the Rock Hill area of SC seem to have fled NC/Charlotte for one reason or another, or consciously chosen to move there instead of NC. We have friends who live in Tega Cay, and that town is very nice, though it's been a while since we visited them. I would certainly have no qualms about living in or near Rock Hill, as it is nicer than most of Charlotte.

Last edited by Pulaski; Nov 30th 2015 at 9:58 pm.
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Old Nov 30th 2015, 9:58 pm
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Shootings are not something I spend much time worrying about - like it or not, as a purely factual observation, shootings are almost entirely gang and/or drug related, and this is especially true of the Charlotte area. Unless you go out of your way to make high risk friendships, purchase illegal drugs, or otherwise hang around the "wrong part of town" after dark, IMO you have little to worry about.

So far as the greater Charlotte area goes, it is pretty easy to settle into because so many people there have moved from elsewhere. The rush hour traffic isn't bad, unless you are commuting from south Charlotte/South Carolina into downtown Charlotte, in which case it can take about an hour, by every account I have heard. There is a light rail station (with free parking) close to the SC state line, near I77, which I would take if I needed to make that journey.

Most people in the Rock Hill area of SC seem to have fled NC/Charlotte for one reason or another, or consciously chosen to move there instead of NC. We have friends who live in Tega Cay, and that town is very nice, though it's been a while since we visited them. I would certainly have no qualms about living in or near Rock Hill, as it is nicer than most of Charlotte.
Thanks so much Yes, I remember some people responding about Tega Cay on another thread I posted a couple of years ago about Raleigh vs. Charlotte and someone responding that the area is nice. Also, I've read that taxes are a bit better in SC, so that is a bonus.

The healthcare doesn't seem to be bad either - $245 per week + $3000 deductible for both of us. At least, it doesn't seem bad compared to the Healthcare.gov quote I got!
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Old Nov 30th 2015, 11:56 pm
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

What's the visa?

If it's not a company transfer, then they aren't applying for a H1B till next April for a October start, if you're lucky enough to get the visa.

Anything else is a bit moot, so find out what the visa situation is first before doing to much research.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 12:01 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
What's the visa? .....
Per post #1:
.... we are originally from the US .....
==================================================
Originally Posted by jenninedinburgh View Post
..... The healthcare doesn't seem to be bad either - $245 per week + $3000 deductible for both of us. At least, it doesn't seem bad compared to the Healthcare.gov quote I got!
Are you sure that's per week? ..... I would have said that is pretty steep for a $3,000 deductible policy. Our employer-subsidized policy is about $160/mth for Mrs P, little Miss P, and me, with the same deductibles.

BTW I added to my post #2 above after you quoted it.

Last edited by Pulaski; Dec 1st 2015 at 12:20 am.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 7:03 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Shootings are not something I spend much time worrying about - like it or not, as a purely factual observation, shootings are almost entirely gang and/or drug related, and this is especially true of the Charlotte area. Unless you go out of your way to make high risk friendships, purchase illegal drugs, or otherwise hang around the "wrong part of town" after dark, IMO you have little to worry about. ..... That said I knew nothing about murders and murderers in the UK, but since moving here I have met, to talk to, two people who were subsequently murdered, and known fairly well, two men who went on to commit three murders. Maybe I spend too much time in the wrong part of town. Curiously, among the killers and killings, only a single one was a shooting.
Wow, that's really something!! It does sound like you were in a bad part of town Yeah, we don't have too many in Scotland, but they do happen of course.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 7:28 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Per post #1:
==================================================

Are you sure that's per week? ..... I would have said that is pretty steep for a $3,000 deductible policy. Our employer-subsidized policy is about $160/mth for Mrs P, little Miss P, and me, with the same deductibles.

BTW I added to my post #2 above after you quoted it.
Yes, the insurance is provided through an IT temporary employment firm - so basically my husband would be getting paid an hourly wage through them and his insurance would be through them until he went perm and switched over to the company's plan. We basically have the following choices via Cigna (rates are for both of us):

1) $240.16 per week, $6,000 deductible, $11K out of pocket max, $35 copayment on GP and $65 copayment Specialist, 20% copay if hospitalised, diagnostics and labs covered 100%, $300 copay on major scans in an office and $200 and 20% after deductible in a facility

2) $195.79 per week, $10K deductible, $12.7 out of pocket max, $30 copayment on GP and $55 copayment Specialist, 30% copay after deductible for hospital stay, diagnostics and labs covered 100% (outpatient), 30% if in a facility (MRI, etc)

3) $234.98 per week, $3k deductible, $9K out of pocket max, office visits 20% after deductible (one just pays for their visits and Rx until the deductible is used and use of the HSA is recommended- the temp firm will put $35 a month in the HSA), 20% copay if hospitalised, diagnostics and labs 20% after deductible

Initially I thought option 3 was the best for us - but after writing this out, I am starting to lean towards option 2. I do have a minor condition which means I do see the GP a few times a year and I have 2 Rx that I must have.

Anything else we should be thinking about on these? I must admit when we started going through them with our highlighters last night, we both said we'd really needed a Masters' degree to analyse them!
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 7:29 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
What's the visa?

If it's not a company transfer, then they aren't applying for a H1B till next April for a October start, if you're lucky enough to get the visa.

Anything else is a bit moot, so find out what the visa situation is first before doing to much research.
Yes, we're dual citizens...so no visas required
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 8:00 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by jenninedinburgh View Post
Yes, the insurance is provided through an IT temporary employment firm - so basically my husband would be getting paid an hourly wage through them and his insurance would be through them until he went perm and switched over to the company's plan. We basically have the following choices via Cigna (rates are for both of us):

1) $240.16 per week, $6,000 deductible, $11K out of pocket max, $35 copayment on GP and $65 copayment Specialist, 20% copay if hospitalised, diagnostics and labs covered 100%, $300 copay on major scans in an office and $200 and 20% after deductible in a facility

2) $195.79 per week, $10K deductible, $12.7 out of pocket max, $30 copayment on GP and $55 copayment Specialist, 30% copay after deductible for hospital stay, diagnostics and labs covered 100% (outpatient), 30% if in a facility (MRI, etc)

3) $234.98 per week, $3k deductible, $9K out of pocket max, office visits 20% after deductible (one just pays for their visits and Rx until the deductible is used and use of the HSA is recommended- the temp firm will put $35 a month in the HSA), 20% copay if hospitalised, diagnostics and labs 20% after deductible

Initially I thought option 3 was the best for us - but after writing this out, I am starting to lean towards option 2. I do have a minor condition which means I do see the GP a few times a year and I have 2 Rx that I must have.

Anything else we should be thinking about on these? I must admit when we started going through them with our highlighters last night, we both said we'd really needed a Masters' degree to analyse them!
Wow, this is really confusing me! So, from reading the plans above, I understand that with option 3, we pay the deductible first before the health insurance will pay anything. I am wondering however if that is the case for all of them however - but then what in the hell is the weekly fee for? Does the weekly fee count towards the deductible? I am thinking not..but would love to be wrong about that! Sigh...this is definitely one of the bonuses of living in the UK - none of this nonsense!
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 9:20 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Hi there,

Have spent the morning wading through Healthcare.gov plans...can anyone advise how much an average GP visit is? Looking at the Bronze HSA plan, it's $606 a month for both of us with a joint deductible of $11,650. If we don't really get sick very often, this looks to be the best. However it would be good to know how much we could expect to pay if we did have to see a GP as we'd have to pay up to $5825 individually before the insurance kicked in.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 10:29 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

The deductible is, more or less, what you pay before the insurance pays anything. It is the same concept as what is known in the UK as an "excess". The deductible has nothing to do with the premiums - the premiums do not count against the deductible.

If your medical expenses are $2,000 and you have a choice of policies with, say, $3,000 or $6,000 deductibles then you will pay all the expenses which ever policy you have. If your medical expenses total $4,000 you would be reimbursed only $1,000 on the $3,000 excess policy, and still nothing on the $6,000 policy. Slightly confusingly you might find that if your expenses are $4,000 you are better off with the $6,000 policy because the savings on the premiums are more than the $1,000 you have to pay out of pocket.

In short if your health is good enough that you will likley not reach the lowest deductible offered, you will likely be financially best of by taking the policy with the highest deductible, but would be "exposed" in the event that you had moderate medical bills.

Note some things, such as check-ups and preventative treatments are covered by insurance irrespective of the deductible.

You do need to check out whether the policies permit an Health Savings Account to be opened. You can contribute tax deductible money into it, then use it to pay your "out of pocket" medical expenses.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 10:55 am
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
The deductible is, more or less, what you pay before the insurance pays anything. It is the same concept as what is known in the UK as an "excess". The deductible has nothing to do with the premiums - the premiums do not count against the deductible.

If your medical expenses are $2,000 and you have a choice of policies with, say, $3,000 or $6,000 deductibles then you will pay all the expenses which ever policy you have. If your medical expenses total $4,000 you would be reimbursed only $1,000 on the $3,000 excess policy, and still nothing on the $6,000 policy. Slightly confusingly you might find that if your expenses are $4,000 you are better off with the $6,000 policy because the savings on the premiums are more than the $1,000 you have to pay out of pocket.

In short if your health is good enough that you will likley not reach the lowest deductible offered, you will likely be financially best of by taking the policy with the highest deductible, but would be "exposed" in the event that you had moderate medical bills.

Note some things, such as check-ups and preventative treatments are covered by insurance irrespective of the deductible.

You do need to check out whether the policies permit an Health Savings Account to be opened. You can contribute tax deductible money into it, then use it to pay your "out of pocket" medical expenses.
Very helpful - thanks so much.

We're both pretty healthy - but I do need to see a GP at least a couple of times a year as I have a condition which requires one Rx. So the Bronze HSA it is!
Thanks so much again.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by jenninedinburgh View Post
Hi there,

Have spent the morning wading through Healthcare.gov plans...can anyone advise how much an average GP visit is? Looking at the Bronze HSA plan, it's $606 a month for both of us with a joint deductible of $11,650. If we don't really get sick very often, this looks to be the best. However it would be good to know how much we could expect to pay if we did have to see a GP as we'd have to pay up to $5825 individually before the insurance kicked in.
Mine are around $85-$115 (the doc would charge more but that's the agreed rate they have with the insurance company).

No charge for visits that are purely for contraceptives and no charge for your annual physical - so cover as much stuff in that visit as you can.

A friend has no health insurance and her family is signed up to a practice where you generally see a Nurse Practioner and I think they charge something like $50 a visit.

Just FYI the way it works is you see the doc, they bill the insurance co, the insurance co adjusts the bill according to the rates they have agreed, then the insurance co works out what they owe and what you owe. They send you an EOB (explanation of benefits) which lists all of that. The doc then bills you what you owe - if all goes well then it matches the EOB.

With a lot of insurance companies you can see all your EOBs and a load of other info online.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 5:20 pm
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

My primary care doctor (GP) charges my insurance company $264 a visit.
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Old Dec 1st 2015, 11:02 pm
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Default Re: Daily Living and Thoughts

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
My primary care doctor (GP) charges my insurance company $264 a visit.
... and the insurance company pays the doctor whatever their negotiated rate is ...
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