ELEVEN MONTHS CANNOT pass quickly enough for me. And, no, this has nothing to do with COVID-19 although I certainly wish for an end to that, too.
What I most anticipate, what I’m most excited about and looking forward to from a financial perspective in 2021 is turning 65. And getting on Medicare. Why? Because of the cost of my health insurance.
Recently, Randy brought home the new premium numbers for 2021. Since I’m self-employed, I get my coverage through his work plan. Based on media reports and based on the across-the-board decline in medical services provided this year (due to hospitals canceling elective surgeries early in the pandemic and fewer people seeking medical care, etc.), I expected our premiums would remain the same or even decline. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We are facing another increase, of nearly $200 a month, to monthly premiums of $1,245 each. Times two, that’s $2,490 a month (up from $2,297/month) for policies with $4,250/each deductibles. That’s an 8.4 percent increase.
Let’s break that down. Randy’s employer pays half of his premium. None of mine. Therefore our portion of the premiums will be $1,868 a month, $144 more than the $1,724/month we currently pay.
This is unsustainable. And ridiculous. This is not affordable health insurance, to all you politicians out there who claim you’ve made healthcare affordable. Talk to me. I’ve remarked to Randy that soon he will need to pay his employer to work for him, just to cover our health insurance premiums. While I may be stretching that a bit, I see the numbers on his paychecks. When I do the math, I see that nearly three weeks of his base gross wage each month goes toward health insurance premiums.
I also recognize that employers, especially small businesses, feel the financial impact of such high health insurance premiums. If you are fortunate enough to work for an employer who covers your full premium and maybe even contributes to family coverage, consider yourself “lucky.” I have no doubt Randy’s employer is looking forward to his getting off the company plan in 11 months as that will save the business money.
I’ve always been a financially responsible person, someone who spends her money wisely, who doesn’t need the newest/biggest/best. Live within your means, don’t accrue unnecessary debt. That will never change about me. Or Randy. But, still, I yearn for an updated kitchen to replace the 1970s yellowing cupboards, the brown sink with the leaky faucet, the Formica countertops, the worn vinyl flooring…, well, you get the picture. I could have had that lovely new kitchen years ago if not for the exorbitant cost of health insurance.
But, more than that, I dislike that my hardworking husband is giving up a sizable chunk of his paychecks to pay for health insurance that is basically only a catastrophic plan. Any suggestion that we simply go without insurance is not a financial risk we wish to take. Not at our age. So we wait. Eleven more months…
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling