Sunday, May 15, 2016

Health Insurance Angst (part 17, probably)

As noted here and on FB, the hub's previous employer had pretty crappy health insurance, for which he paid about $1,100 a year for single coverage. I pay less than that per year for my individual plan (which has far better coverage), but adding him would have cost another $2,100, year. Since he has been to the doctor about three times in our many years of marriage, we had decided when I started my job a little over three years ago, it was not worth the extra $ to put him in on my better plan (J is on it). We were right. :-)

Sadly, the hub's new employer's plan makes the last plan seems like the gold-star option. If B goes on this plan, which he could not get on until August, he would pay almost $3,000/year. But on top of that, he would first have to pay a $1,500 deductible. If our entire family was on the plan, almost $19,000 would be deducted from his yearly pay, plus there is a $4,500 deductible. Coinsurance (no idea what that is) is 30% after the deductible. And the co-pays range from $30-250 (PCP-ER). The family dental and vision plans add another $700-$1,500 per year. After taxes come out of his pay, I bet my husband would net well under $10,000 in salary.

Wow.

Is it any wonder that people have gone without health insurance?!

As you can imagine, I will be adding B to my employer's health insurance plan, which will result in about $175/month less in my pay. Yee-haw. But much better than the alternative. [Sure hope I continue to stay gainfully employed...]

But that is the easy part. 

My employer's vision plans range from just over $200/year to $285/year for a family; I am currently on the high-end individual plan and pay about $115/year (B had all three of us on his plan and paid about $170/year). If J continues not to need glasses, it would be the least expensive for me to continue to pay $115/year for my plan, for B to pay $71/year for his new plan, and for us to pay $65/year for J's eye exam. Pretty sure it is not worth it to save $35/year, especially when his plan has co-pays for various lenses (we will both need bifocals soon). So one problem solved (right here as I typed this!). But there goes another almost $175 out of my pay. 

But wait, there's more!

Dental is the real crap-shoot. Under B's previous plan, he paid $307/year for our family; both my and J's dentists were in the plan, and our bi-annual cleanings and x-rays were covered. That was a good deal/well worth the cost. People, if you have dental coverage, and cleanings are included, go to the dentist twice a year! Otherwise, you are throwing money away.

Unfortunately, my employer's dental plans for me and J (B never goes to the dentist, so I would not add him) are anywhere from $432/year to $632/year. Neither of our dentists is on the one lower-end plan, which covers what Bs former plan did. The other lower-end plan would allow us to go to any dentist, but we would have to pay a $100 deductible each year. Not sure that about $525/year would cover 2 dental exams each for me and J plus X-rays. Neither cover orthodontics, which J may or may not need. The highest plan, as I understand it, covers half of orthodontics, but the lifetime maximum is $1,500, and the annual plan year maximum is $1,000. That is very confusing to me; I am presuming that means only $1,500 would be covered for braces, and that would have to be over more than one year. We would have to pay the same $100 deductible for anything other than a cleaning or X-rays, and things like cavity fillings and crowns would be only partially covered. Sigh.

B's new employer's plans are a little less expensive, but I cannot determine which dentists we can use. The cheaper plan ($475/year for family) seems to cover more orthodontics, but if our dentists or orthodontist (which we don't yet have) are not included, not worth it. I would not go with the more expensive ($1,300/year for family) plan since B refuses to go to the dentist anyway.

Sadly, the enrollment for my employer ends on Tuesday. Two days. The timing is awful. If I had to decide now, I would probably just go with my cheap(er) dental plan for me and J, and hope and pray our teeth need nothing, since we would have to go to a dentist that we don't know (and, quite frankly, is probably not the best, since so few choose to participate). I am going to call both of our dentists tomorrow to see what they charge out of pocket. My guess is that the cost of 4 cleanings (two each) plus X-rays (J has never had them) would be more than the cheapest $432, but not sure. If I go that route, I will have something like $30-50/month come out of my pay for the HSA. We get the tax benefits either way, so this may make the most sense.

There is a enrollment seminar tomorrow, but it may be very general, and if many people show up, I might not get to ask questions. Here is hoping for the best.

One more thing that really irritates me: It seems extremely unfair that family coverage is the same if you have 1 kid or 7 kids. I have bought many family memberships to things over the years, even though I have one kid. Those things are "wants" or luxuries. Why can't health insurance, something so very expensive, go with some sort of a tiered coverage?! People want to complain about the ACA subsidizing so many people (which it does). But why do I, the parent of one, have to subsidize families with many kids?




Saturday, May 7, 2016

Some stuff

A few things have been weighing on my mind lately. Most notable has been the hub's job. The company he has worked for for more than 7 years has not been doing well for, well, years. Paychecks have been late for at least a year or two. His salary was cut long before that, never to be brought back. And, even though the economy is better than it was earlier this decade, it still is not great, thus keeping the hubs at that job. Still, we both knew the biggest advantage of his job was that he got to work from home. Being able to get out of bed just before your starting time, particularly when you are not a morning person, is pretty great. Not having to sit in traffic most days, also pretty great. And being able to take a late lunch so you can get your kid from school and bring her back home, saving on after-school care, also pretty darn good.

J will be 13 at the end of the summer. We had decided that we were going to transition her to staying by herself by letting her do that 2 or 3 days a week, knowing that B would be home most of the time (he does site visits most weeks, for a couple of hours at a time). The place she has gone to the past 3 summers goes up to age 11, for some odd reason (to me), but they were fine with letting her come back a final summer.

So we had a plan.

And then things changed.

Another company is buying out a portion of the company B currently works for. This company is large and established, so it is mostly a good thing. If nothing else, I am 99.9% sure he will be paid on time!

But B will now have to go into an office. Fortunately, the office is only about 10 minutes away. But this muddies the waters of our summer plans. And it means B can no longer get J after school and bring her back home. Even if this company would let him take lunch at 2:30 or 3, it would take his entire lunch hour to get her, bring her home, and then come back to work. And, unfortunately, B won't have health insurance until August. But even then, he will pay quite a bit more than what he paid at his current (now former) job. So he will go on my plan, which will mean about $200 less in my monthly pay. :-(  And that does not even include dental and eye, for which J and I were on his plan, and they were much cheaper. And whereas he had to be "on call" 1/4 weeks a month (he had to answer help calls 24/7), this new job will require that 2/4 weeks, and this time, he will have to drive places after normal work hours.

So, as is so often the case, it feels like two steps forward and two steps back.

But, looking on the bright side, as I try to do, change is inevitable, and sometimes good. This could turn out to be a good job opportunity, with growth. And perhaps there are other advantages I am not even realizing. I sure hope so.

My dad said to me years ago, whatever decision you make, you will make it the right one. So we will make it the right one. Right?

Now let's go Pens!