(I’d like to take a moment here to mention there were 74 comments in my spam folder when I visited today. 74. Really? Spammers need better things to do than barrage my poor little blog with unnecessary and unwanted advertisement for Swedish penis enlargers. And that is totally going to get me more spam. Oh well.)
Today on the Rubber Duck Brigade, we’ll be talking about health care. Or rather, health insurance. I know, boring topic, but see, it’s an important one!
I try not to talk about my job too much because frankly, employee benefits is not exciting. And I don’t exactly love what I do, which gives me even less of a reason to want to talk about it.
I was walking down to my local Barnes & Noble for a NaNo write-in (which turned out to not be so much a write-in as it was four of us sitting around talking about writing. And other stuff.) when I came up with a fabulous idea. Open enrollment is currently going on for my company, as well as for a number of our clients and, well, Medicare Part D (and do NOT get me started on Part D. That shit is so messed up, especially the coverage gap. That’s just beyond messed up). I’m lucky-my company allows domestic partners to have benefits, so for a few years I had the BF on my insurance as a dependent.
This sucked. Hard core.
The IRS doesn’t recognize domestic partners, so what they would do is add the full amount of the premium (so my portion plus the employer’s portion) onto my gross income for the pay period, deduct my portion, tax it, and then deduct his portion. Make sense? Probably not. Basically, it meant that I had enough “extra income” that it bumped me up into another tax bracket, and I was shelling out an extra $400 or so a month in taxes on income that, technically, I wasn’t even seeing.
See why it sucks?
So my brilliant idea was to have the IRS recognize domestic partners in the same manner they do spouses. One of our clients is a huge medical group, and we get a large number of complaints about people on the lower end of the pay scale having to pay through the nose just for the coverage because they cover a domestic partner. They cover the DP because 1) the DP may be unemployed, 2) the coverage offered by the company is far superior to their company’s coverage, or 3) the DP may not be able to afford coverage of their own, either as an individual policy or through whatever their employer is offering.
It occurred to me that if Obama really wants everyone in America to have health insurance, he really ought to tell the IRS to stop taxing us like its going out of style for a benefit that could, quite possibly, save everyone a ton of money in the long run.
But that would be smart. And politicians aren’t known for being smart.