OK, so I stand by the statement that UConn is discriminating against families by not absorbing more of the cost of health insurance. But it turns out that insurance companies (Cigna, in this case) are running the biggest scam by charging employers like UConn outrageous rates. (Anyone surprised? Not me!) According to the insurance broker I am emailing with, UConn pays 95% of the premium for an individual graduate student’s insurance plan, making that student’s total annual contribution to the cost of health insurance $200. UConn pays 85% of the total for plans that include dependents. Sounds good, right? Yeah, but sadly it doesn’t turn out so great for us. Annual cost to insure a family of two: $1,440 bill for us. $9,768 for UConn. Annual cost to insure a family of three or more: $1,822 bill for us. $12,356 bill for UConn. In theory, this 85% deal sounds fair. But in reality, $1,822 is about 8% of my husband’s “stipend.” If the university covered 95% of the total cost, even for a family of 3, they could take about $1,100 off our annual expenses. That, to us, a month of rent and utilities. I am sure that a public university like UConn does not run up huge surplus every year, and that it is difficult to find a way to balance their budget. But this is all too familiar: Families with low incomes bear a much greater portion of the financial burden. I am so sick of this refrain. Our situation is temporary (we hope) as Nathan finishes his education. We have the luxury of help from family. I can make calls and write email during business hours. I have a college education to help me understand and navigate this system, while our income remains low. Please visit this marvelous post at Poor As Folk, a clear and concise summary of current politics and news surrounding poverty and hunger in America. You will find many other links to good information. Excuse me while I go shake in anger and try not to cry. Again.
I am now going to use a political image to point out what is totally obvious to anyone paying close attention to the goings on around Food Stamps legislation. If it upsets you, feel free to say so, but you may just want to skip my posts about living on a low income if you disagree.