Monday, June 12, 2017

Health Insurance

Another important point brought up by a commenter on a recent post— how am I going to get health insurance if I leave my job? The short answer is that I’m going to pay through the nose for it!

This really is the crappiest part of trying to contemplate a sabbatical, or early retirement. I currently get pretty good health insurance through my employer, including coverage for Sweetie. I pay about $260 a month to cover our dental and medical insurance. I can see from my paystub that the employer covered portion of our insurance costs is about $1000 additional. Going on COBRA will also add some sort of administrative fee, so I’m budgeting that it will cost us $1,400 a month to pay for our insurance.

COBRA only lasts up to 18 months, so after that, assuming we didn’t have jobs yet, we’d have to buy insurance in the marketplace. I went to the NY State website to see what the costs would be under Obamacare. It looks like we make too much money from interest and dividends alone to qualify for any subsidies, so our costs for a “bronze” medical and dental plan for 2 people would be around $800 a month. “Silver” would be about $950, and “gold” would be around $1,150. Given that we are both currently quite healthy and don’t have any prescriptions we take regularly, it probably makes sense for us to try a bronze plan— this would have a really high deductible, so we’d be mainly covering ourselves for something catastrophic, and we have the cash to pay a big out-of-pocket maximum if we get hit by a bus. But that could be over $14,000 worth of charges we’d have to pay before the insurance kicks in. So maybe it’s worth it to pay about $350 more per month for the lower copays and out of pocket caps that we’d get with a gold plan?

Who knows… either way the whole system sucks. I know so many people from other countries that have single-payer systems, and they are perfectly happy with them and think that what we have to pay here is insane. Every time I see a drug ad on TV, I feel outraged that millions of dollars are being spent on all this pointless marketing, though I know that’s not the only reason healthcare costs are high. And of course, my numbers here assume that the Affordable Care Act isn’t completely destroyed by the Republicans. If the protection for people with pre-existing conditions goes away, I’ll be screwed, as I do have one hereditary thing that doesn’t require active treatment now, but would be considered a pre-existing condition and could potentially cause me to be charged a lot more for insurance in the future, or denied coverage for certain things.

So will we really be paying an amount equivalent to the rent on a small outer-borough apartment just to get health insurance? I guess we will, at least for a while. I’ve been googling “part time jobs with benefits” as that would be an ideal scenario, but I’m not sure we’ll get that lucky…

1 comment:

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