I wanted to give anyone reading a practical example of how health insurance in the USA is unaffordable. In my state, if my employer offers a health insurance plan where the premium is below 9% of the employees’ income, that employee is not eligible to get health insurance through healthcare.gov. This 9%, however, is not the true cost of this health insurance. There is also the deductible. In my case, the deductible was $3000 a year, or $250 a month. Additionally, the plan did not cover anything before the deductible was met. The total monthly costs, therefore, of this health insurance plan would costs me around $450 a month before I saw any benefit. This practically made this an insurance plan that is only useful in a catastrophe. The only other option my company offers is a silver plan that has a higher premium, but only a $1000 deductible, which still costs around $450 (premium + deductible) before I saw a benefit. Once the deductible is met, I still would have to pay 30% of the costs.
I am sure that to some individuals that $450 is pocket change. For me, however, that’s over a forth of my take home pay (net, not gross). Let’s do the math. I bring home around $1700 (net not gross) a month. This $1700 subtract the $450 leaves me with just $1250 a month. Now, the average rent in the USA for a one-bedroom apartment at the end of 2019 was $1078. In my specific state, the average was $836. From experience living here, I know that it is extremely hard to find a decent place for less than $800. A less decent place might go for $700. Let’s assume I have a rent of $700. This $700 subtracted from my monthly (net) take home pay minus the costs of health insurance leaves me with just $550.
From this $550, subtract another $200 for utilities and a crappy internet connection. I’m now at $350.
$350 - $300 (monthly food and gas) = $50
$50 – $50 (car insurance) = 0
$0 - $200 (car payment) = -$200
-200 – $75 (school loans) = -275
-275 - $100 (to account for emergencies and appliance and car breakdowns) = -$375
I have only considered here mostly considerably basic things and I am at -$375 per month. The only thing on this list that might be considered extravagant is a simple crappy internet connection. I have not saved anything so that I do not become homeless in the future. I have not considered phone bill. I have not considered a host of other things that, if I did, would surely bring me down below -$600 a month.
I make around $26000 a year. I am a supervisor. I have a master’s degree. It is not possible for single people like me to make it on less than $26000 without help. I am lucky to have help, but there are so many that don’t, and those that do face stigma and shame for needing it. It is time for this to end.