Monday, May 17, 2010

One more bump in the road

Sometimes little disasters come in the form of a one page letter. My part of medical insurance is going up to $730/month. Thats up from just under $500. It's a good chunk out of my income.

Here I was ruthlessly cutting expenses, then something like this blows my budget right out of the water.

My first thought was to cancel the insurance completely. While I could live with that, it's not really fair to my wife. She has some medical issues that need attention. For now, I'll keep the insurance. There's no other reasonable options right now. This whole medical insurance thing is at a point of diminishing returns.

The letter said that medical insurance went up 14% this year. The part the state retirement system put in didn't go up at all. That's why my payment took such a huge jump. Last year the state almost completely dropped their contribution. Had that happened, I would have had to drop insurance last year.

I'm glad I didn't have to. My lovely wife had shoulder surgery this past year, so I did get some use out of the system.

So . . . where to get an additional $230/month? We've eliminated heating oil. Dropped down to one vehicle, so are saving on repairs, operating costs, registration and insurance. Stopped buying propane. About to disconnect from the grid. Have no TV cable or satellite. Went to a cheaper Internet provider. We are eating more wild foods. Planting a garden. Right now we aren't even giving birthday gifts. Not a lot to cut here.

Guess the debt will get paid off a lot slower than I planned.

Funny thing is, I knew this increase was coming, no matter what happened in the National health care debate. The state retirement plan I'm in is in trouble. It's been in trouble since the collapse of the tech boom, a good ten years ago. About three years ago I went to a meeting and asked what the plan was to fix the problem. Their "plan" was to wait for the stock market to go even higher. I asked what they planned on doing if the stock market went down. That's unlikely to happen, they said. They really didn't like the question and quickly brushed my concerns aside. I don't go to those meetings anymore.

In the long run, it looks like we'll all be on our own.


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