I just finished the open enrollment process at work. I have been putting it off because I know there have been lots of problems with health insurance as a result of all the changes brought about by Obamacare. I am incredibly thankful to have a job and have health insurance with it, but my take home pay will definitely be going down as a result of everything. So, my wife and I will have to look carefully at the budget and try to decrease our spending levels.
As a result, less waitresses will be getting tips since we will have to eat out less and eat at home more. We have been doing some of this since I broke my arm and couldn’t work for a month anyway, but we will intentionally refocus our efforts to cut costs.
Health Insurance Premiums Going UP
Thankfully, health insurance isn’t the only line item in our budget, but we are seeing an incredible increase in the cost for 2014 compared to 2013. Our out of pocket costs will be going up by 18.2% in 2014! And that is after my employer is supporting a 7.5% increase!
That means that our family health insurance premiums for 2014 are increasing by 25.7%!!!
Ouch and double ouch.
Hopefully no other items in the budget go up by that much in 2014. If gasoline, which is currently at $3.25 per gallon where I live, the cost would be $4.08 per gallon. I think I might have seen prices about that during the summer so it is entirely possible.
What if food were to go up by that much? Then a gallon of milk would be approaching $4 per gallon which could conceivably happen. Dang, I am getting a little depressed. I guess the budget will have to be squeezed quite a bit in 2014 in order to withstand the potential price hikes.
I haven’t set goals for 2014 yet, but I have mentally been thinking that I would like to shave expenses by about 5% next year. This would be through a combination of spending less on discretionary items and avoiding additional debt so that as a few debts get paid off, the costs remain eliminated from overall spending.
I plan on sitting down at the end of the year, seeing what the expenses are and then cutting from there. I have a feeling that the costs for health insurance are only going to get worse for the next few years.
So, what impact has Obamacare had on you?
Usually when I hear those words, I think of something positive like a Hollywood star being discovered and cast in a major motion picture allowing his/her career to take off. Or maybe an author signing a big book deal or landing on the best seller list.
Unfortunately, in my case those words had a different connotation as can be seen in the picture below:
Trying to break my fall during the first inning of Monday night softball, July 29th, I could hear the snap and knew that “my big break” was referring to my arm. The radius was broken and the ulna was dislocated at the wrist which is where the pain was and where I thought the fracture would be. Turns out the break didn’t hurt at all.
After surgery on Wednesday, I took pain pills for a couple days but within just over 48 hours was done with that. I drove myself to get an oil change on Saturday and have been going since with a plate and screws in the bone and a cast.
The biggest problem is not being able to work as almost everything I do requires use of both hands. I am getting half pay with short term disability, but I would rather be working. Actually, a bigger problem (for me) is having this time off and not being allowed to golf. The doctor suggested 3 months because of the rotation and ligament damage at the wrist, but everything was healing well at the two week follow-up.
Bottom line is that softball and golf are done for 2013 unless the weather is really nice in November.
Check Your Disability Coverage
If anything good can come of this, it is comforting to know that I have a good long term disability policy through work as well as some personal insurance that after 3 months and 6 months would end up covering essentially my entire salary through age 65, meaning I could make it until retirement. I have rental property that would be paid off by then which could actually then fund my retirement.
Even though this month is a bit tough, it is nice to know that our family would survive and not have to adjust lifestyle that much. And there is a one armed golfer’s association so I could find something to do with my free time since blogging with a cast isn’t the easiest to do (although I am getting much better).
It has been forever since I posted these links so I need to do it now: