a new set of worries, of the non-medical variety

School has started again, which has helped me keep my mind off our current wait to finish testing. Not to say that any stress has been relieved.

Our current contract has expired and the school board is refusing to negotiate anymore, so we have begun mediation. This also means that the governor’s new benefits law is affecting us. Last year, I paid 1/12 of the premium of my policy to the district. Now, they can chose to withhold 1.5% of my base pay, or 1/4 of what I will pay in four years under the new law, which will be 20% of my premium until my raises put be in the next bracket (I understand petty much none of this, btw).

Before I start bitching too much, I do want to say that I am extremely grateful to have the benefits that I do and my job. I have no problem paying towards my healthcare, and am well aware that I am still probably getting a decent deal compared to most.

But there are some things that I don’t agree with. I don’t think that my contributions to my healthcare should be calculated based on my (or anyone’s) base salary, but rather on the expense of the policy they use. I would pay the same amount as someone as at the same step in the pay scale with a full family plan that costs the district much more than my single coverage if the distort used the 1.5% calculation, which they are with some people. I am also concerned with how the district has been handling this. Until we got our paychecks this week, no one knew how much they would be paying towards their benefits since the district can use one of two calculations. They are using either calculations, whichever will allow them to withhold more money. There is tons of confusion since no ones contributions are being calculated the same way.

So back to the stress. My new higher contributions only lower my pay by $7 on my last paycheck, but my health care withholdings doubled from $24 to $48 (again, I know that’s not too bad). I have to double check the math, but I think they are taking the 1/4 of the eventual 20%. If that’s the case, it will more than double again next year since it will be 1/2 of 23% since I will be in a new pay bracket. So in two years, I’ll jump from paying $200/year to $1000 this year, to around $2500 next year. If I were to drop my coverage and go under R’s plan, we would save that money, plus I would get another $2500 for not using mine. All of this is assuming things don’t change again.

Right now I have very good infertility coverage with my benefits. My understanding is they will cover all my doctors visits, tests, and procedures. But we have no idea about any meds. I tried calling my prescription company and was told that they would tell me if something is covered under my plan if I can tell them the name of the drug, the dosage, and the form (pills vs shots etc.). Such help. So we have no clue what this will cost us. I’m not terribly worried, we have savings if we need it, and we have room in our budget to help pay for things. But it does worry me to be going into this basically blind. I cant really ask around at work to see if anyone has had any experience with IF meds without everyone knowing I need IF meds. And I don’t want to wipe out our savings now and have nothing left if we need to go to adoption, or to actually raise our child.

So there was already this worry about drugs before the increase in my monthly costs. We’re trying to see what the coverage is like under R’s plan, but it all feels just a little bit overwhelming and confusing right now. I just need to keep reminding myself that we have coverage, and that’s what matters.

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