Monday, August 3, 2015

the middle class SQUEEEEEZE

So today I went to Larimer Health Connect to do a little comparison shopping. My new gig has put us in a waiting period in which we need to secure healthcare for the months of August and September; while I got the full low-down on COBRA at my exit interview, which would offer the comfort and familiarity of the plan we've had for over a year and a half, the new premium is MORE than our monthly mortgage payment. Yes. Paying into a pool of money that health insurance sharks invest to cover the risks of those in the pool, swimming in funds we've contributed but could potentially never even draw upon, will cost more than our shelter.

Oy. Hello Monday, there you are, you fickle frenemy.

So, yeah, I thought, "Perhaps there is something on the Exchange that could be [more] affordable in the interim."

And perhaps there are icemakers in hell. About the same probability, is all I'm saying.

See, Seth's employer does have insurance they offer to their employees. But it basically boils down to REALLY expensive catastrophic coverage (super high deductible and 60/40 co-insurance after deductible is met). Thus, when I started working at the Health District last year, it was cheaper for us to all have really good coverage on my plan than it would have been for us to do a split with me and the kids on my plan and him on his plan.'s where the ACA went wrong and was totally perverted from its original intent thank you politicians more concerned with fillibuster and lobbying than taking care of ALL their constituents, but I digress....those of us who work and earn between 251%-400% FPL, and thus would be eligible for some health premium tax credit, typically are going to have employer provided insurance available to us in some form. Whether it is actually affordable or not doesn't matter, just whether we have the option in theory, because who cares if the numbers actually WORK is enough to take those tax credits away. 

As it turns out, without tax credit subsidization, the premiums on the Marketplace Exchange are laughable as to affordability, and downright absurd as to the narrow scope of "coverage" they offer, not unlike what some employers are offering their employees. Families in this "luxurious" class known as the upper middle are then forced to go with a policy that is MORE than their monthly housing expenses, plus whatever out of pocket expenses actually are incurred should you actually need to use the care.

So let's stop and look at the math, folks. 


A mortgage that is considered affordable and living within one's means is generally touted at about 30% of one's gross income. Add in a  healthcare premium that is MORE than that, and you have a family that is paying over 60% of their income to housing and health PREMIUM again, that's not even counting out of pocket expenses. Then take off all the payroll deductions/taxes, and you are looking at upper middle class families struggling to survive on roughly 1/4 of the money they work for. Twenty-five percent of our wages is supposed to cover food, transportation and again because we live within our means, our vehicles are paid for, but we still have to pay for the pump, maintenance, and insurance, educational debt for a degree I had to have in order to secure employment of a certain means, clothing, inevitable home repairs, {insert other responsible adult expense here}, and the elusive white rabbit of recreation/leisure oh, wait, there's a reason we haven't had a vacation in 7 years

Do our lawmakers know how soul crushing it is to work hard day in and day out but not have anything to show for it? Or to feel like you can breathe for a moment? Obviously, some do, or else those in poverty would not have gained from the ACA like they have. I don't begrudge that. I do struggle with the corporate welfare and failed trickle down economics that we allow to persist, creating a growing burden that squeezes any kind of prosperity out of the middle class reality.

I am not saying the ACA is bad. I believe the intent was great and I wholeheartedly supported it, given my work experience with people in need, and then our own personal near-bankruptcy caused by an unforeseen medical crisis.

I AM saying the logic got broken when partisanship caused the de-volution from what it was to what it is. 

And something has to give.

I have to do COBRA because of our family's needs until my trial period at the new job is done, and suffice to say, again as it bears repeating it is well OVER what we pay for our mortgage. But it is cheaper than buying a bronze pkg on the marketplace right now and paying for follow-up care with specialists out of pocket. 

In the meantime I have ridiculous amounts of student loans to pay and back to school season is upon us. Not to mention that I have a child who is merely 4 years out from needing her own help with higher education costs.

But...cue the scripture verse I put at the beginning of this post. Scroll back up and dwell on those words.

I may not have a fat wallet, but I do have a LORD who has blessed me in endless other ways.

1 comment:

  1. I look at what we pay, and how much it goes up every year, and I can't imagine having to switch, figure it out, shop the plan, all of that nonsense. It makes my head spin just thinking about it and feel very blessed that my husband works for a company that I don't have to think about it. The cobra is just for a couple of month
    s, right?