Book Review: "My Healthcare is Killing Me"

05 January 2012

My Healthcare is Killing MeA couple years ago I acquired the book “My Healthcare is Killing Me: A Survival Guide for the American Healthcare Consumer.”  I’m not sure how this book landed in my collection.  It’s from a startup here in Nashville called change:healthcare, and I probably picked it up at a startup event sometime over these past few years.  I’m glad I picked it up because it provides an invaluable overview of basic insurance and the American healthcare system.

Laura and I are in the middle of re-evaluating our current health insurance policy and I feel confident and informed about the changes we are about to make thanks to this guide.  The book is a simple read at only 125 pages, and does a phenomenal job of discussing the healthcare landscape and defining key terms.  If you’ve never really understood co-insurance, premiums, deductibles, HSAs, HMOs, PPOs, etc., pick up a free digital copy online and quickly read through it.  You won’t regret it.

Health insurance has always frustrated me.  The premium payments are always higher than I think they should be, medical service is expensive, and I always find myself with a bill no matter how much I thought insurance would cover.  In my mind the health insurers have always been the villains.  What this book brought to my attention is that the insurance companies have been reacting to the American healthcare consumer.  Americans have been consuming healthcare services in greater and greater quantities.  Americans have been getting sicker and have been going to the ER and to the doctor for more and more ailments.  The more service we get, the more we get billed, and the more insurance companies are having to pay.  Thus, higher premiums and more expensive care.  This realization has helped further my resolve to take better care of myself and to do whatever I can in the form of preventative healthcare.

Another empowering realization for me is that I am a consumer of healthcare.  I pay for insurance, I receive care, and I pay for care.  Whenever I spend my hard earned cash on anything I usually do a thorough analysis of the product or service I’m interested in.  Never before have I approached healthcare from the same perspective.  But I should!  I’m spending my money and should make sure I’m getting my money’s worth.  Properly researching costs and negotiating for better rates will definitely make me feel like a more empowered healthcare consumer.

change:healthcare is a technology firm dedicated to helping people become smarter healthcare consumers.  Check out their website for additional healthcare information and resources for today’s healthcare consumer.

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Holiday Wish List - Photography Edition

25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!  I had so much fun creating a holiday wish list for my interest in the Quantified Self that I now want to make one for photography.  For many generations my family has been full of avid photographers.  As you may or may not know, I have a huge archive of photographs spanning several generations.  Whether by fate, by awareness, or simply by coincidence, I too am an avid photographer.  I've got a lot of great photography gear, but I'm always itching for an additional piece of equipment.  Here's a rundown of some of the latest and greatest stuff I've got on a wish list for myself.

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December 1990 - First Trip to New York City

24 December 2011

In December, 1990 my mom and dad surprised me one morning with a trip to New York City. My dad travelled to and from New York quite regularly on business and on this special occasion, I was going to join him. They woke me up and said, “Adam, we’ve got one early Christmas present for you.” To my complete shock the present was a plane ticket. My parents had already packed a suitcase for me and had scheduled my absence from school. I remember this because in the video of them surprising me I worriedly asked “what about school?” Go figure.

As many of you know, I’ve got a bit of an obsession with New York. It’s fun looking back at these pictures because each evokes many memories from different stages of my life. Here I am at age 11, first introduced to the metropolis that is New York, traveling to many places that would reappear later in my life. I posted an entire album over on Flickr and on Facebook. Here’s a look at a few that resonate with me.

Here I am in front of the Plaza Hotel. Years later, Laura and I would run through the halls of the Plaza just for fun … Oh, and in this picture you can see a Mark III Toyota Supra … I’ve still got my Mark IV :)

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 00A Adam Thede in Front of the Plaza Hotel

Here I am in front of Carnegie Hall. In 1996 I would sing at Carnegie Hall with the Cherry Creek High School Meistersingers …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 01 Adam Thede at Carnegie Hall

One of my father’s favorite Christmas traditions is to go and see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. He took me in 1990 and I’ve been many times since …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 05 Adam Thede at Radio City Music Hall

I really like this picture … it’s a picture of Long Island City. I think it’s cool because Laura and I shared our first apartment together in Astoria (basically Long Island City) …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 11 The United Nations Building and a View of Long Island

Here’s the view from the Grand Hyatt near Grand Central Station. This is another hotel that Laura and I would later spend time running through the halls just for fun …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 16 The View from the Grand Hyatt

Adam and Lady Liberty … I remember spending time at the Lehman Brothers building near the World Trade Center staring out the window at the Statue of Liberty …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 17 Adam Thede and the Statue of Liberty

I’ll never forget this view of lower Manhattan …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 20 View of Lower Manhattan

This barely needs an introduction … I guess this early introduction would later guide my career path …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 21 Adam Thede at the New York Stock Exchange

Another view I’ll never forget …

1990 12 Thede - Adam Thede Trip to New York City - 22 View from the World Trade Center (WTC)

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Holiday Wish List - Quantified Self Edition

15 December 2011

I'm not a particularly easy person to buy gifts for.  First, I usually want stuff that is very expensive.  Second, I'm extremely particular about the stuff I want.  I'm the type of guy who will exhaustively research all available options before spending my hard earned cash.  So, with this in mind, I thought it might be fun to share a couple Holiday Wish Lists of mine.  Here's my first list - the Quantified Self Edition.

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Hittin' the Road with Edens Edge

14 December 2011

This past weekend it was amazing to see my friends in Edens Edge perform with Josh Kelley and Lady Antebellum at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

The adventure began at 5:45 Sunday morning, after an awesome three-and-a-half hours of sleep.  The plan was to arrive at the venue at the same time as the tour bus.  Hitting the road before sunrise, my friend Justin and I drove towards the moon on a fairly car-less interstate.  At about 8AM we pulled in to Murray and found the Lady A, Josh Kelley, and Edens Edge caravan - about six semis of gear and another six buses.  Having been away from Laura for several days (she was on the road with EE, writing music and traveling in their bus) I was thrilled to see her face-to-face.  I woke her up and the two of us started exploring the town.  With a cup of gas-station coffee in hand, we headed to the venue to watch the semis unload, the stage get built, and the entire arena transform.  I kicked myself for not taking any camera gear with me - it would have been awesome to time-lapse the unloading of gear and the construction of the stage.  Next time.

Spending time backstage at the concert was a ton of fun.  It was thrilling to witness fan meet-and-greets, autograph signings, set changes, and production managers in action.  However, seeing Edens Edge perform was definitely the highlight.  They were simply amazing.  I had never seen them play a big arena before and they were awesome.  Words can’t express how cool it was to see my friends rock a big arena.  I look forward to watching them do that time and time-again.

After the concert we packed all our stuff and hit the road back to Nashville.  At about 2AM we stopped at a Waffle House for a little late night food-debauchery.  It was so good!

Hannah, Cherrill, Dean, Laura, Laura, Allison, Cam, Cody, Kevin, Mark, and Justin - thanks for an unforgettable Sunday :)

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building building building

11 December 2011

Building, building, building …

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Building the Lady Antebellum, Josh Kelly, and Edens Edge stage

11 December 2011

Building the Lady Antebellum, Josh Kelley, and Edens Edge stage :)

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Share Your Instagram Pics

08 December 2011

Instagram is a super successful photo sharing app for the iPhone.  In less than a year the service has grown to more than 50 million users.  And, yesterday, they announced they'll soon be launching an Android app.  Look out, here comes more growth!

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My Quantified Self - Video Conversion Station

05 December 2011

The Quantified Self movement is all about self-surveillance and study via collected data and numbers.  More than simply analyzing my day-to-day life, I have a desire to study the trajectory of my life from birth to the present.  I was born over thirty years ago, long before mainstream digital cameras, GPS devices, heart rate monitors, etc. Fortunately, I come from a family of pack-rats and I have a large collection of photos, videos, papers, etc. spanning my whole life.  I now spend a great portion of my time digitizing this analog information. Today's blog will highlight my Video Conversion Station.

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