On Art and On Health Insurance Costs

These two have nothing to do with each other, so don’t spend any time searching for the connection. Art and Health Insurance Costs have nothing to do with each other. They’re just both on my mind and I’ve been meaning to write about them for some time.

The reason to write about Health Insurance Costs is because I finally know the answer to my long unanswered question, “How does it work?” I usually ask this question when the person taking my money says the word “only”. And the HR folks seem to always say, “You only pay…”

While I haven’t ever googled anything like what I’m about to share, part of the reason for that lack of searching is that I wouldn’t even know how to ask the question. Experience was the way for me to “search it up”.

My company tells me that I can choose between an HSA or whatever the other, more traditional plan is called. Neither the acronyms, nor the explanations of benefits made a difference to me, and the paycheck deduction is near identical. I chose HSA.

Long story short: the HSA costs me (family man) something like $230/paycheck no matter if I go to a doctor or not.

But there’s a $3,000 deductible.

So that means that if you happen to go to the doc, whatever the number the letter in the mail gives you after figuring out what was “covered”—pay attention—must be paid. So if you go and owe $3,000, you’re now paying, over one year (26 paychecks) $345/paycheck ($230+$115). (Luckily, most places don’t charge interest on these year long payment plans—luckily for them, I mean…)

To restate that, if you need to spend your full deductible, you go from paying $460 a month to $690 a month!

Now, once the deductible is met, there is an “out of pocket max”. For my plan, this is—for any one us—$6,875/year. For the entire family it is $8,000. (Don’t quote me on these numbers. They’re close. Who would have them memorized? I have better things to do.)

Again, once some one (1) member gets bills for $6,875, which is only $3,875 more than the “deductible”, the new paycheck-ly cost of the plan is…(total of $3,875 / 26 added to $345)…$494/paycheck! Put plainly, we’re up to $1,000 a month!

If we get bills to the tune of the family out-of-pocket max, that’s an addition of $1,125 (over the course of 26 checks) or a grand total of $537/paycheck!

In short, before all the medical bills become “covered” (natural sense of the word) by my health insurance, I have to contribute $1,100/month or so, or the initial $230 x 26, plus $8,000, for a grand total of $13,980!

I’m not sure the word “covered” really means anything at this point. Maybe we’re “covered” in the sense that a year of mortgage payments “cover” our heads all year.

“What’s your mortgage?” Next time someone asks, tell the truth. Add up both the mortgage and the health insurance.

Now you know. And no one ever had explained it to me before. So I wrote it down today.

Next, unrelatedly, let’s talk about Art. I just listened to a podcast on the philosophy of Art and a super intriguing idea was planted in my mind. The idea? All Art as “work song”.

I like this idea so much, it gives me so much joy, that I’m infecting you with this idea now. Is Art itself merely “work song” for our lives, comprehensively? If so, what does that mean? If not, how is genuine “work song” (like “I’ve been working on the railroad” sung by actual railroad workers while they work on the railroad to pass the time away…) different than Art?

Fascinating to consider. On the one hand, if all Art is work song, that paints a pretty depressing vision of life on Earth—as in, life is so bad we have to sing to get through it. But I don’t see why it has to. I like singing and I like working and I like singing while working. Just did it the other day. Was chatting movies on the leg home and belted out, “Say it soft and it’s almost like praying”. (Name that tune?) Made the crew chatty and made me smile.

As for me, I’m undecided as of yet. But I’m leaning towards siding with the “all Art is work song” crowd. What do you think?

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