So, I got this text from my mom a while back:
Mom: "Is it true that Rick Scott wants ya'll to pay 9,000 for your health insurance?"
Me: "I dunno"
And that's about as far as it went. I try to steer clear of too much politics. No sense in borrowing worry for things that have not and may not happen. Until today. I got curious and decided to research it. I found the article the information came from in a Florida online newspaper here.
Two precursors, just in case you don't know: 1. Rick Scott is our governor. 2. I am a state employee.
If you read the article, I fall into the first category, family coverage. Yes, just for adding a spouse, I now pay more than triple the monthly premium I used to. Our dental coverage has an employee+spouse option, but our health does not. Individual or family. Cut and dry.
Now, don't get me wrong, the coverage we have now is still sa-weet. A $180/mo premium for family coverage is great. $20 copay for family practice, $40 for specialists, free annual pap and physical, free outpatient surgery, $50 ER deductible and $250 hospital deductible. Pretty spiffy. Good Rx coverage too.
Buuuut- if the new employer contribution cap is implemented in 2013, my monthly premium for the existing plan (if the coverage and current premium do not change) would be $826.67/mo! Oh my GOODNESS!
That is because while I now contribute $2160/year to my health insurance and the employer (State of Florida) contributes $12,760; if the plan goes into place the state would only contribute $5K, so I would pick up the $7,760 difference.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am for a balanced budget. I know cuts have to be made, and I will deal with them. But they better darn be sure to start offering some alternative plans. I have the cheapest no-deductible plan there is currently. I like having an HMO. We do currently have the option of Health Savings/Health Investor plans (the high deductible low premium kind). Believe me, I researched thoroughly and ran the numbers. Perhaps if I accessed the medical field more often than I do and had a bigger cash reserve, I would have chosen that plan. In the future, I may be forced to.
But- I feel like these plans are best for major-medical coverage really. I still don't go to the doctor unless I'm severely injured or ill for more than a week or so. I have not been to my primary doctor in a year, because nothing has been wrong. But let me tell you, if all my trips came out of my pocket, I would be even less likely to get "preventative" care. As would many others. Which in the end does not benefit the system at large. That's why just this year all state HMO's had to make preventative care copay-free. To encourage people to do it and not wait until major problems arrive.
This move is to cut spending obviously, and make our benefits "more in line with the private sector." I am for that. But let's also make our salaries "more in line with the private sector." Everyone knows the state has lower pay but better benefits. I could definitely be making more money in the private sector with my BSN. But I chose this job for the schedule. There have been no raises in the 3 years I've been here. And apparently there have been no general raises in the 4 years before that.
The article mentions that the effect on "recruitment and retention" should not be overlooked. I'm pretty sure with unemployment the way it is, there would be plenty of people ready and waiting to fill our jobs, even with less benefits. I'm not so naive as to overlook that. But, I can only speak for my department. There are several departments who already are severely over-worked and under-appreciated. The retention there may not be so great.
I will not worry about it for now. I have no idea what situation I will be in in 2 years, or if the cap will even pass. But, the legislature had better get some way better plan options if they expect any state employees to be able to afford health insurance.
And of course there will be less ramifications if money is cut from the state employee budget rather than the state entitlement programs budget. If they cut our budget- we whine, we protest, we find other jobs. If they cut their budget- they riot, they picket, they are destitute. Since my job puts me in the position of being paid by the state to assess people for entitlement programs, I will probably see big changes either way.