Update: UConn Insurance Discrimination

OK, so I stand by the statement that UConn is discriminating against families by not absorbing more of the cost of health insurance and guaranteed life insurance for parents. 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. My friends have been begging me to check out OneSureInsurance.co.uk for years, I could of saved my self a few crying sessions had I listened

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.

The Real Hunger Games, brought to you by the GOP.
The Real Hunger Games, brought to you by the GOP. Thanks to Poor as Folk and the Twitter user known as @TheOtherWhiteBen for this image. (Click on the photo to go to the page where I found it.)

5 Comments

  1. dellaquella said:

    Did they give you a reason for the 85% coverage rather than 95%? Is there a graduate student association that may be able to help you gain leverage if you want to pursue changing the policy? It is so important that you are shining a light on the issues of family and poverty and on the basic need for healthcare.

    August 8, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      The problem with poverty and these policies is that after fighting so hard just to get your family enrolled in the right combination of health care plans (medicaid for the small one, at least until he turns one in October, the couples’ plan for us, at least until October, but then what?) you don’t have a ton of energy left over.

      Graduate student unionization is a really controversial issue, because they’re supposedly receiving their degrees at the grace of the universities. But the universities totally depend on them.

      This is the third problem: I don’t have the energy to get this policy changed and we will be out of here by the time it takes effect. Universities get away with this because it’s a temporary world. I want to be the person who makes change for someone I don’t know who will come after me. But I also don’t want to give that energy to anyone but my family. Dilemma.

      August 8, 2013
      Reply
      • dellaquella said:

        Having done all the work you’ve already done, maybe it would be some form of closure to write a letter to the university newspaper or to someone who might be in a position to review this policy. Let the universe take it from there. You are completely right. I said the same thing about depression earlier today. It takes so much work to do anything before you can even do anything. We’re still poor, but at least the depression is lifting. I made an amazing dinner from scratch without a recipe after looking through a freezer, fridge, and pantry of food carefully curated on food stamps. As I stirred, I realized how far I’ve come. A dinner like that would have been so far out of reach mere weeks ago. Sorry to veer off topic a bit, but I’ve been over reading poorasfolk and all the ideas are merged in my head.

        August 8, 2013
        Reply
        • Anne-Marie said:

          I did send a letter to the president of the university. I’ll look into other places. This week has just been too much, though! Sigh. Next week.

          August 8, 2013
          Reply
          • dellaquella said:

            That’s great! You’ve spoken your case! <3

            August 8, 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.