My Paycheck is Smaller: Health Insurance Saga

by Kay Lynn

Medical Exam

The amount on my paycheck is lower as of this month.  My employer had told us about it in advance so there wasn’t any drama but the culprit is health insurance premiums.

The older you get the more important health insurance becomes.  Partly because invincibility is a state of mind for the young and partly because ongoing health issues become a reality for many.

Insurance Premium

Like many of you our premiums have gone up just about every year.  My employer usually absorbs the increase for employees but for those covering family members (like Mr. Boomer) it 

Last year we had the first major coverage change resulting in office visits copay increasing from $10 to $30 (with the HMO option).  Still that was okay because most people don’t actually go to the doctor every month or more.

Health Insurance Options

This year an alternative HMO option was considered that would result in no increase for employees but would require more out of pocket for hospitalization and outpatient services.  To help with the increased out of pocket a supplemental policy would be offered.

During a meeting to review the two options it became clear that the majority wanted to keep the current plan even if it meant paying more.  My employer decided based on the feedback to do so and that’s why my paycheck got smaller.  But they don’t know what’s going to happen next year.


 Will we end up having a plan with less benefits?  How will health insurance reform impact us?  At what point to people say that’s too much to pay? 

Has your health insurance changed this year and was it by choice?

photo credit: jjprojects

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Donna Freedman July 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I just checked my bank statement online and found that my HMO price hike went into effect. I’d forgotten how much it was going to be, but vaguely remembered “around $20.”
Wrong. It was $40. 🙁
But since no machine runs for more than 50 years without some maintenance issues, I will pay it and be glad that I could get coverage in the first place. Sigh.

Bucksome July 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Donna, that’s a good way to think about it. I’m a 50 something year old machine that needs regular maintenance.

Funny about Money July 15, 2010 at 7:01 am

That certainly was the case at my job, when I was still working. Former colleagues continue to see the same phenomenon: higher costs, fewer services.

The new provider the state took up with sent out a letter to everyone who takes regular prescription meds (at the university, that’s almost everyone…they’re all on antidepressants!) informing them that they would be required to switch from the brand they were taking to generic, and that they would only be allowed to go back to the brand their doctor prescribed after they had tried the generic and could prove some problem with it.

Wouldn’t have affected me, because so far I’ve managed to evade being put on some drug for the rest of my life. And I usually use generics anyway. But some people have experienced different side effects and different effectiveness between brand-name and generic prescription drugs–enough so that one hesitates to buy the claim that generics are identical with brand-name versions.

Bucksome July 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Funny, I would hate for that to happen. One of my medications is not generic because of a side effect I experienced with the generic option. I wouldn’t want to go through that again just to get approval for the current medication.

Greg McFarlane July 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

“My employer usually absorbs the increase for employees.”

It’s adorable that you believe this. When your next raise is deferred, or smaller, or non-existent, these words will sound prescient. Health care coverage is remuneration, just like salary is.

Imagine if we could buy health insurance like we do car insurance, instead of expecting our employers or their agents to do it for us. Economies of scale would prevail, resulting in cheaper premia for all of us.

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