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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Open Season

Tis the season for year-end reviews, 401K election, and benefit open enrollment. Tis the season that I begin praying that everything health insurance figures itself out so that I don't have to deal with it. Lord knows, if we make the wrong health insurance election, we'll be paying for it, literally, all year. Tis the freaking season.

The pessimist you hear in the paragraph above is one created out of fear and misunderstanding. We shall not let this pessimist overshadow the overwhelming gratefulness it also feels. Yes, both Sara and I, the pessimist, work for companies that extend domestic partner benefits. Thank you, fellow employers, for entering the 21st century. Your efforts to contribute to our equality are appreciated.

So this year Sara and I had the choice of three plans. That's right. Three. All medical. There were two different high deductible plans, one through my work and one through hers, and a co-pay plan through hers. The goal for 2012 was to move the health insurance coverage to my work so Sara could work part-time instead of full. She deserves it. She's pregnant and putting in 80-100 hour weeks between work and school. A step back to focus on finishing school strong and delivering a healthy baby is long overdue.

Our biggest considerations for the 2012 insurance year are my pregnant wife and the baby we are expecting in May. The pregnancy crosses over the years 2011 and 2012. From a health insurance perspective, this means we get poked in the pooper with two deductibles. One for 2011. One for 2012. It also means I didn't take out enough medical flex spending for 2011 which I learned this week doesn't matter anyway. You see, Sara carries our health insurance making her ineligible for my flex spending. Duh and son of a bitch. Really, really poor planning on our part.

All woes aside, the obvious solution was to go with the plan that had the lowest per person/per family deductible. Easy enough. It was a five minute conversation. The plan would cost a bit more per month, but it would also cover way more than the high deductible plans we had as an alternative and that we were currently on. The plan we elected, a co-pay plan, was offered only through Sara's employer. Hold the phone. WHAT?! How would that work? She's going to be working part-time. Aww man! We are going to get boinked with a $2,500 deductible plan. F-U-dge! That's supposed to be adoption money. What am I supposed to say? Sorry kid, couldn't afford to claim ya. Wait. We can flex the deductible. That might work. Who's taking out the flex spending this year? Me? Ahhhhh-POP! Woman down! Woman down! You got me health insurance. Nice. Clean. Shot.

Huh? What did you say, honey? I couldn't hear you over my silent temper tantrum. You get benefits as a part-time employee? Really?! And they only cost a teensy-weensy bit more. Sign us up! Ah. I could just kiss you. Still gotta add a bit more to the savings though. Sara gently reminds me that we are saving. We're always saving. This is really her polite way of telling me to shut-up. But I don't. I continue.

Sara, it's kind of like what your dad says about cars and homes. You know that if it has a VIN or an address it's going to cost money. I think kids have to be added to that list. If they have your DNA, and in some cases even if they don't, they will cost money. The best things in life aren't free. I just want to make sure we are financially secure. This whole health insurance thing threw me a curve ball.

At this point I am getting shut-up eyes. Okay. Got it. We have insurance. We have have jobs. We have a roof over our heads. We're good. Shutting up now.

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