Before we get started with the third edition of Max’s Back Pocket, I wanted to take a minute to recognize the unprecedented events that have taken place this week. Entire states are shut down due to COVID-19. We don’t know how far or wide it will reach. Hopefully, we can collectively flatten the curve. My thoughts are with anyone impacted and all front-line workers standing by to help. I am also thinking of all the small businesses whose revenue has gone to $0.00 in a matter of days. Layoffs will occur, and some businesses may never recover.
I hope we can all get past this as quickly as possible. The plan is to up the “restaurants and coffee shops” line item of our budget when this is all over to try and help small businesses. Who knows, maybe we will try and grab some takeout this week to help now.
Personally, I have been pretty tired at the end of each day this week. Mostly from digesting too many headlines. So I am happy it is the weekend.
It may seem weird to talk about money and personal finance at times like this. But as the Mad Fientist said in his podcast Monday, “this is what we do”. It is no different here at Max Out of Pocket and the project must go on. That said, I will try not to be “tone deaf” to the situation (as my wife says) as I move forward.
So with that said, welcome to Max’s Back Pocket Vol. III.
Mrs. Max OOP suggested I start using Roman numerals. Pretty slick if you ask me, but I will probably need to start googling them once we get to volume 6.
Max’s Back Pocket
Over the last several years, I have absorbed a ton of great content from a lot of talented people in and around the internet. A lot of those ideas even got implemented into my personal finance strategy. Some of these people are professionals, but a lot of them are just amateurs throwing their weight around in a random niche. I like to think I am pretty good at healthcare and personal finance, but there are plenty of people out there much smarter than me.
Up until now, most of this content just landed in my back pocket to be used for my own benefit whenever needed. It was rarely shared or exchanged with anyone in my personal network. These days, that is no longer the case. Max will start scouring the entire internet for these ideas in a weekly effort to not only spread but recognize the wealth of knowledge that is out there. This weekly check-in will also give me an excuse to catch up on what’s going on around here more often. What are we calling this idiomatic experiment?
Max’s Back Pocket.
As I mentioned, on Monday Brandon from the Mad Fientist brought Jim Collins back on the show to touch on the coronavirus market crash and if this time it is different. Short answer? It isn’t. But the timing of this podcast was great. It’s a great listen and reiterates a lot of things we already know, but need to hear again. I personally don’t have any concerns with my current market “losses” as I know this is part of the process.
Brandon, like me, is struggling with what to do with his cash allocation at a time like this. I have been slowly buying into the total stock market through the decline knowing I cannot time the bottom. But I need to put some limits on it. Brandon mentioned he is looking at putting processes in place to help with this during the next bear market. I am working on a similar thing for myself.
I really appreciated Brandon’s comments at the end of this podcast and something I think we all need to consider. As I said, just because we are talking about money does not mean we aren’t thinking of all the front line workers and people impacted by this virus.
Here at Max Out of Pocket, we spent a lot of time this week watching how COVID-19 out-of-pocket costs are being handled. Medicare and several large commercial carries announced they would cover the diagnostic lab test with no out-of-pocket costs.
By Wednesday, the president signed the H.R. 6201, FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT and it became law 3/18/2020. Division F of this bill mandated insurance carriers to cover the lab test itself and items and services furnished to an individual during a visit with a provider that result in an “order for” or the “administration of” the lab test. But there was some interesting language added that I didn’t see in the original draft.
” (1), but only to the extent such items and services relate to the furnishing or administration of such product or to the evaluation of such individual for purposes of determining the need of such individual for such product.”
We will dive into Division F soon, but there will be more bills coming.
Max is more worried about out-of-pocket costs for therapeutic inpatient stays anyway. Medicare Part A has an exploding cost-share structure that could cause a tsunami of out-of-pocket costs as things progress.
Lastly, Max found An Arm and a Leg podcast this week and I plan on getting caught up on it as quickly as possible. Hopefully, I can share some specific thoughts on it next week. I have clearly been sleeping under a rock because this has been out there for a while now.
I thought I would end this on a lighter note. The folks behind Live Hard x Love Hard put out a refreshing post about COVID-19. A glass half full post, if you will. They shared five easy ways we can turn COVID-19 to our advantage. From using this as an opportunity to convert from paper products to getting back in touch with nature, they are certainly looking at things from the right lens. Not to mention they also just got back from an awesome trip to Kilimanjaro.
It’s been a crazy week. One of those weeks I will probably remember forever. I am going to do my best to help the clinical staff I support. But right now, it is almost best for me to stay out of the way and just focus on getting them the financial resources they need. That said, I will also support them in any way that I can and I am not above cleaning or working in the cafeteria at times like this.
There is a lot going on in our personal finance world, our healthcare world, and our everyday world. But everything is relative. The Max Out of Pocket crew is doing just fine hunkering down for the time being. With that, I will leave you with this.
How was your week? Can you think of a way we can turn this COVID-19 issue to our advantage?