A Sellout, A Hypocrite or Worse, Part II: A Lament

 

In what I thought was a couple years ago, but find was nearly six years ago, I posted about my dilemma at the time: I was renting, married with four children and employed full-time, but couldn’t afford the employer-offered healthcare product(s) for my entire family. I had trouble reconciling myself as a bona fide right-winger (much farther to the right of the average Ricochetto or Ricochetta), and the idea of enrolling my children onto Wisconsin’s Badgercare program, the local Medicare services. The response was positive, agreeing with my findings that the market had been horribly affected by the continuing horrendous idea of having healthcare given by employers, rather than via private providers as we do for all other insurance products.

I’ve since moved companies twice; in 2015 I started working for a company that ultimately let me go this past August (it wasn’t a good fit from the start, and I can’t blame them too much). I start with a new company at the end of October, at a higher-than-expected (and higher-than-before) rate of pay: I don’t mind telling you, via the anonymity of Ricochet, that I’ll be making $60k, quite a good salary here in “north-east” Wisconsin (Oshkosh – Appleton) area in the Retirement Plan Administration industry (compliance testing, government reporting, ERISA expertise for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, old style “pension” plans, etc.).

This new company is smallest of all: fewer than ten employees. Because of that, the benefits they offer are the most expensive I’ve ever seen. For healthcare for myself, the premiums are near $475; for my wife and I, it’d be not quite $1,100.

If I wanted to enroll my entire family, which now includes a fifth child, born in 2014: greater than $1,600 a month in premiums, or more than $19,200 a year. And the premiums are segregated first by gender (with males paying more) and age groups; I’m at the beginning of my current band, age 45 through 49.

That of course doesn’t count the $1,500 per-person deductible / $3,000 family out-of-pocket maximum (neither of which are actually too bad, but add up…), or the co-payments that must be paid even when deductibles and maximums are met.

And that’s just healthcare; what about dental, vision, etc?

So, what do I do?

  • The kids must remain on Badgercare, as they have done since 2011;
  • I go with the company’s healthcare for myself; and
  • Look up the best policies available on the dreaded healthcare.gov website for my wife; as a stay-at-home mom, she/we receive a healthcare credit towards her premiums.

By doing this I don’t pay $1,600 a month in premiums; I do, however, have seven family members on three different health plans, while simultaneously becoming more dependent upon the growing bureaucratic state Leviathan.

In theory, at some point, the increases in my salary with result in a marked decrease in my take-home pay: eventually, we’ll stop qualifying for Badgercare and the ACA credit, so will have to go with employer-provided.  That’ll result in a $20,000 drop in expendable monies. And, as previously stated, it becomes more expensive the older I become.

At what point does this happen? I’ve been too depressed to find out. Let’s say it happens at $80,000; at that point, that $20,000 drop in usable monies is a bloody 25% reduction from gross pay, never-mind take-home. Are you kidding me?

So, I have to play the shell game; gotta quit my second job now (pizza delivery) because I worry about making too much to qualify for benefits. My wife would like to go to the local “Tech” school to find a career for when all the kids are in school, but her prospective job will add different variables altogether to the calculations (maybe we’ll go on her healthcare; maybe none will be offered).

So, in the six years since my original post, I’ve been forced into being a scheming government-benefits grabber, worried about “getting mine.”

What the hell is next … don’t forget, George Orwell’s protagonist in his indispensable work 1984, Winston Smith, after a long and arduous resistance to the powers that be, ultimately loved Big Brother…

There are 16 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Don’t blame you much, totally understand your predicament. I’m more angry with the GOP. Healthcare costs are out of control. I care more about cost than than “people insured” (the lower the cost, the more people can insure themselves). They’re blowing it big time but frustrated and desperate people will accept socialized medicine if situations like yours are the alternative. They don’t seem to get that.

    • #1
  2. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    You should ask your employer if they have considered a High Deductible Health Plan with Health Savings Account option for the new year.

    If not, then you should ask why.  Your employer could save money on their share of the expenses, you would get to save money in your HSA to cover current and future medical expenses tax-free and your monthly premiums would be lower.

    • #2
  3. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    And you’re none of the things you’ve listed in your title.  Life has simply handed you the proverbial lemon, and you have to make do.

    • #3
  4. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    You should look to faith based medical cost sharing programs. I understand they are a good deal.

    • #4
  5. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    What’s next is that we go socialized single payer.  Costs are non sustainable.  I’m sorry for your scene but happy about your job.

    Obama knew these rates would go to hell and he lied about it.

    • #5
  6. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    I know doodley and squat about this stuff.  Wish you all the best, though.

    • #6
  7. BigDumbJerk Member
    BigDumbJerk
    @BigDumbJerk

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    You should look to faith based medical cost sharing programs. I understand they are a good deal.

    Unfortunately that’s not insurance, but a cost-sharing scheme (in a non-pejorative sense).  Time away without actual insurance means “prior conditions” are not covered once any of use would go back to insurance; with two of the five kids with heart conditions, that’s a non-starter in our situation.

    • #7
  8. BigDumbJerk Member
    BigDumbJerk
    @BigDumbJerk

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    I know doodley and squat about this stuff. Wish you all the best, though.

    You know as much as Washington, which is why they should be completely out of it.

    Decouple the business write-0ffs for employer-funded heatlhcare; in order to keep the write-off, they’d need to pay higher wages (which remain write-offs), so that individuals/families can buy their own health insurance, just as we do for home, auto and life insurances (employer-provided life insurance is expensive and similarly ends at termination; we should all have our own independent life insurance, when needed).

    • #8
  9. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    That’s a terrible situation. Agree that you should do what’s best for your family and finances.

    • #9
  10. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    It may not help you, but I was in a similar situation some years ago. I moved from CA to MT and had my retirement connected with my ex-employer. I didn’t think too much about it, until I had to pay higher premiums for being “Out of area”, and every year there would be an increase until I was paying half of my retirement income in premiums. They were getting ready to increase again. So I started looking around in MT and discovered I could get BC/BS of MT for about 2/3 less than I was paying CA. There is a BC/BS of Wis. Maybe you could check it out and it might be less for you.

    Wisconsin Health Insurance – Affordable health Insurance …

    Looking for affordable Wisconsin health insurance? Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of health insurance companies …

    https://www11.anthem.com/wi/

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Take all the benefits you can, and use the resources thus freed up to unelect the CoCs who gave us this system. The left hates it when it finds out that providing you with  financial help didn’t buy your affection and your vote. (See the example of Clarence Thomas if you don’t believe me.)

    • #11
  12. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Take all the benefits you can, and use the resources thus freed up to unelect the CoCs who gave us this system. The left hates it when it finds out that providing you with financial help didn’t buy your affection and your vote. (See the example of Clarence Thomas if you don’t believe me.)

    Exactly. The system is not your creation but you are forced to live under its tyranny. Exploit it while continuing to oppose it.

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Take all the benefits you can, and use the resources thus freed up to unelect the CoCs who gave us this system. The left hates it when it finds out that providing you with financial help didn’t buy your affection and your vote. (See the example of Clarence Thomas if you don’t believe me.)

    Exactly. The system is not your creation but you are forced to live under its tyranny. Exploit it while continuing to oppose it.

    A large scale example is leftwing moaning that red states are the biggest net beneficiaries of federal largess.  That sound is music to my ears.

    • #13
  14. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H
    @NickH

    Just because you’d prefer a different system than the one you’re currently forced into, does not make you a hypocrite or sellout. Even if you had a reasonable option that would take care of you and your family’s needs you wouldn’t be a hypocrite or sellout. You’re paying for the plans, just like every other taxpayer. Sure you want there to be more of a free market for health care, but there isn’t so don’t feel bad about using what your family needs.

    One thing you might consider, although I have no personal experience with it, is paying for some care out of pocket instead of through insurance. I’ve heard that some doctors will actually charge a quite reasonable amount instead of the inflated rates that get billed to insurers, just to avoid the hassle of filing the claim. I’m not sure what the people who do this do for the requirement to maintain continuous coverage for pre-existing conditions; it would help if catastrophic coverage only plans were allowed. Again, this is just something I’ve heard about, but might be worth investigating.

    • #14
  15. Drusus Coolidge
    Drusus
    @Drusus

    I’ll second everyone who says do what you need to do in the short term. After your kids are in school and your wife can work, your options expand considerably. In the meantime, make as much money as possible and get started on retirement.

    • #15
  16. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    Look for a non compliant plan.  You still have to pay the fine, (or not if you aren’t getting a refund), but it may be less than the compliant plan.

    The rates you quote are what is happening, and it is nuts to pay that much of your salary for insurance.

    It cannot be said enough, that Obamacare failed in every promise, except increasing the number of insured, and even then the vast majority were government subsidized Medicaid.

     

    • #16

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.