I’ve been taking inventory on my finances, as I do every year about this time. Overall, it was a pretty successful year for JanBonoBooks.com, and the IRS will be happy to see my tally sheet successfully establishes my writing as a career and not a hobby. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, I also added up what I spent out-of-pocket for medical procedures. Let me preface this with the fact that I AM TOTALLY HEALTHY. But between mammograms, gynecological check-ups, knee injections, eye exams, new glasses, colonoscopies, and ending the year replacing a dental crown, my finances rushed backwards in a helluva hurry.

And I HAVE medical insurance! In 2006, when I retired from teaching, my premiums were $286 a month. In 2010 the same insurance cost me $672 a month, even with a $1500 deductible. That’s another $400 a month more than I budgeted for insurance just four years ago, and I’m not getting a single cent more on my pension.

So what’s a girl, much too young for Medicare, to do? Well, folks, since I got everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) all checked out this fall, I’ve decided to go with my own version of a type of HSA plan— A Health Savings Account. I’ll still have insurance, but it will be for catastrophic occurrences only. I’m a good saver, so I’ll put the difference between my new premiums and my former premiums into a separate account to use for medical only.

God willing and the creek don’t rise, that money can just keep adding up until I’m eligible for Medicare. And it will be in MY account, not the insurance company’s. So I’m calling it my “Healthy Living Buys a New Car at 65 Account,” and the goal is to have enough set aside by then to pay cash for a vehicle of my choice.

That’s the plan, and I’m sticking to it.