Monday, April 20, 2015

Where Did All Of Our Money Go?

Every couple of weeks I look at my pay stub and go through the growing list of deductions from my pay… taxes, 401K, and healthcare. Taxes have always been relatively consistent (too high and annoying but consistent), the 401K contribution is something that I set (this I hope to increase in the future), and the healthcare costs have gone up over time according to how many people are covered under my plan which now covers my whole family. However, it is this last significant deduction from my pay that is really annoying. Not because of the direct costs outlined in the deduction but because of the high costs that my wife and I have encountered recently.

For years, every month we have encountered a co-pay in one form or another, office or pharmacy, that is in addition to the insurance premium that we have already paid for that month. Over the past year, those required payments have become more frequently as we have had more doctor visits and prescriptions that needed to be filled. However, these last few months have been atrocious and it really makes you wonder where the money is going. Since our son was born, we have sent out checks for approximately $2500 just to cover the astronomical co-pays. I have seen enough doctors during my life that I have gotten used to the various expenses associated with healthcare but this is simply ridiculous.

I can hear some of you now saying this is why we need Obamacare. Well, in my experience, that is a load of crap! While the delusional utopian concept is intriguing to many it is not something that fits into the confines of reality. This is why we have seen those premiums increase faster since the bill was signed than at any other point in history. Additionally, due to the ridiculous requirements therein, not only have the premiums gone up but the co-pays have seen a sharp increase as well.

Of course, there is also the basic employment fallout. I know for a fact that many employers have set limits on hours simply to avoid having to offer healthcare benefits. Frankly, I have no problem with employers not offering benefits to full time employees so long as said employees understand that they will not be offered. So, instead of someone getting paid for 35-40 hours per week, they are limited to 29.5 hours per week. In the end, they still aren’t getting benefits and now have less money in their pockets.

Furthermore, there are some benefits that were being offered to those who worked 30 or more hours per week. A perfect example that I have seen is that of extended leave. However, because hours are now eliminated that benefit disappears as well. So not only are you getting paid less at the end of the week but you are also losing some of the benefits that you once had. An when you go back to the original gripe in this post, you are also going to pay more for insurance and more in co-pays. You couldn’t afford to get sick before and you still can’t afford it now. Thanks Obamacare!

Maybe we should focus on making sure people can have jobs where they can work full time hours. Maybe we should stop regulating and forcing coverage on people and stop strong arming companies to cover employees. Maybe we should address the high premiums and co-pays that have become the accepted norm in this country. Maybe we should provide a true freedom to choose to have coverage and what coverage to have, whether someone is willing to take a job without healthcare benefits, and whether an employer offers healthcare benefits. Maybe this is the change that we really need!