Monday, October 16, 2017

Money Life Lately

Saint Laurent Cardholder (affiliate link) - I find this wallet design oddly compelling, though I'm not sure it's that practical, especially given my newfound preference for smaller wallets. 

For today, here are two really minor, but nonetheless kind of annoying, things that recently happened on the personal finance management side of my life. These are both silly, kind of obvious things that most other adults may have experienced already, though both were a first for me. 

Dental Insurance

So remember that urgent dental care thing? It all healed well, so things are good. It was my first time going through an out of network dentist and needing to handle my ow n insurance claims. The insurance company finally finished processing my claims and... Well, I wasn't exactly pleasantly surprised. I'm getting back a little less than $200 on all the work I mentioned ($2650). 

Despite having legal experience, that doesn't actually empower me to understand dental insurance policies much better than anyone else. Because I had otherwise healthy teeth, I didn't hit my annual maximum benefit for the year, so that didn't cut into my reimbursement. I needed to work through my deductible first. Also, that 20% to 40% per line item reimbursement was applied only after the insurer first capped each line item by the maximum they allow for each category of work. (Those numbers were not at all realistic for New York City, something like $400 per root canal and $200 for the reconstruction of the broken tooth.) 

I still haven't made appointments for my crowns due to having a gap in insurance coverage while transitioning to my new job. When I get around to that, it's going to add quite a number, probably at least $1000 before insurance, to the cost of the accident. I'll have a new plan, so reimbursement might work a bit differently, but I'm not too optimistic.

Credit Card Closings

In other personal finance news, after more than a year of not using my Bank of America ("BoA") Cash Rewards card (1.1% cash back if you redeem to a BoA account, inferior to my other cards, which I've previously discussed), they started hassling me about closing the account if I didn't use it soon. This isn't a surprise, it's actually more shocking that they took so long. So I did what they asked, with a $5 purchase, which is what you're supposed to do occasionally to keep old, underused accounts open. No harm, no foul. 

And then they hassled me again with a snail mail letter that sounded kind of ominous, sort of a polite, but also somewhat curt, "please call us now or else." I assume the threat is to close the card, despite that I'd just complied with their instructions to use the card to keep it open about two months ago. 

They may not have intended it as a vaguely ominous warning, but that letter rubbed me the wrong way, so much so that I stuffed it in the shredder in a fit of pique. (I'd been working all weekend, which I didn't mind, but that apparently leaves me more temperamental than normal.) I thought about calling BoA to express my aggravation, that I'm a good customer, and while they can do whatever they want with my card, they should also think carefully about how it doesn't necessarily take much to make a customer reevaluate their banking relationships. I totally don't have the energy to call though, and hate getting on the phone, though, so instead I'm writing about it here.

I won't like it if they close the card. It'll harm my credit score, as it's one of my older accounts and most of my others are quite young. Still, it's honestly too annoying to spend a minute more worrying about it than I already have, by digging the card out of my desk drawer to make that dinky purchase to keep it open. (I won't be, say, applying for a mortgage anytime soon so the small hit to my score won't be a big deal, just annoying.)

Has a bank ever closed one of your credit cards on you? How have your experiences with dental billing and insurance been? Does one need to shop around carefully for a dentist to do crowns, given that it's somewhat cosmetic work? 

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