What percentage of income should it cost for health insurance?

So, unless I’m doing something wrong, it is going to cost me about 19% of my gross income to get decent coverage for my husband and myself.

Do you consider that to be a fair percentage? It seems too high to me.

There are two issues. Is your insurance company gouging you? If it is and you’re free to change, then change. If you’re not free to change because it’s employee supplied for example, then talk to your employer…

Assuming the insurance is fairly priced so the insurance company isn’t being unfair, the issue then the “fairness” issue must be the question of whether you be subsidized? That is, your insurance is too big a percentage of your income because your income is too low so you should be subsidized. That, of course, is an incredibly broad question.

Which do you mean?

“Fair” is probably open to semantic arguments, but its much higher then average, and considerably more then what the top percentage for someone subsidized through the ACA. I’d take another look at your options.

It depends on your income, age and the quality of the health care. Sadly 19% of gross income is not ‘that’ high in the US. If you are making 70k a year gross that is about $1100 a month. If you are both 50+ that isn’t uber high.

Hell, I’m in my 30s and have junk high deductible insurance (which my employer pays most of the premium) and I think my premiums are $300-400/month. Somewhere in that range.

Since subsidies are gone at 400%+ of FPL, and the subsidies are minor in the 300-399% range I don’t know if ACA would help.

I think it is. If you’re under 400% of the poverty level, the subsidies should reduce your payments to something like 10% of your income or less. For people over 400%, as of 2011 only 5% of them were paying over 10% (figure 1 in this pdf) which would suggest the number paying over 19% ought to be miniscule.

Sadly, we have the most expensive system in the world. The US spends over $8,000 per capita and almost 18% of our GDP on healthcare - as much as twice what many countries pay. Yet we rank near the bottom in life expectancy and infant mortality.

Without knowing how you get your insurance and how much you pay vs your employer, it is hard to say whether it is fair but it is not a surprise to me.

Well, my husband just got a job which is supposed to pay him about 50K a year and I’m earning a little over 30K.

We qualified for a subsidy on just my income so I was paying $159.00 a month for a silver plan. But when I add his income, we lose the subsidy and the same plan is now $1251.00 a month. Well, I think it’s the same plan, Covered California doesn’t match what Anthem has me on.

We are 56 and 57 years old.

I’ve always had insurance and don’t want to not have it, but holy cow! If I’m doing the math right, after taxes, this is about 27% of our income that I need to set aside for health care. I’m stunned by this figure.

I keep telling myself I have to be doing something wrong.

Wow, that really sucks! I was also hoping that you were doing something wrong, but I went to the Covered California website and I got roughly the same results using your age and income info! :frowning:

The least expensive coverage I could find for both of you was a BRONZE-level plan from Kaiser (KP.com) at $954/month! If I switch it to the cheapest SILVER-level plan, it’s $1273. I’m using a Los Angeles-area Zip Code (Woodland Hills- 91364, just because my cousin lives there and I have it memorized), but I doubt that location within the state would have a HUGE impact on the premium…

Any chance that hubby’s new job might offer health insurance coverage?

I thought it was now illegal to not have health insurance. The rich folks like yourself, (80k a year) need to help subsidize the poorer people that can’t afford it.

There was an article in the newsapaper today (haven’t read it completely yet) where the premise was that 11 million people are now in your position - dramatically higher health care costs because of finding a better job.

Seems like the only law that is consistently enforced any more is the law of unintended consequences…


“Fair” could of course mean many very different things in this context, but one way to measure it might be to say that a fair insurance cost is one that accurately pays for your expected health care costs based on your demographic information.

By that definition, your cost is unfair in your favor. Obamacare limits how much the price of insurance can vary based on age. Young people are paying more than their actuarial cost and older people are paying less.

That’s far from the only definition of “fair” that we could use, but it should be considered among them.

The subsidies come from an payroll tax. Not premiums.

I think the main issue is just that old people consume a lot more healthcare then the young. The average amount consumed by men doubles between 50 and 60. So without subsidies from the young, so will premiums.

Maybe, just maybe, we can move away from the insurance model and get government health care for all. The way things are now, employers are paying through the nose, or individuals and families are. If only some other country had a system we could copy.

To add insult to injury, employers can deduct the cost of employee insurance at tax time. The self-employed who buy there own insurance cannot.

To the OP, the Covered California costs are in line with what we pay for my wife’s coverage (I just aged out of Obamacare and have socialized health care).

You clearly do not know how an insurance company works.

How is that an insult? If own a business and I have to pay for a portion of my employee’s health insurance to attract that employee to come work for me, how is that not a business deduction?

If I buy my own insurance, it’s no different than buying my own food, housing, etc. Why should I be able to deduct those expenses as business deductions?

So the poverty level now is considered 80k per year?

In cases where a business-owner pays part or all of his employee’s health insurance premiums, that cost is a deductible business expense. BUT in many cases the business-owner (and his spouse and/or kids) are also covered by the same group health insurance policy. So he can also deduct the cost of his (and his family’s) health insurance premiums as a business expense.

An independent contractor is already disadvantaged because he has to pay both the employee and employer portion of Medicare and Social Security taxes (15.3% vs. 7.65% for W2 employees). So it doesn’t seem fair that he also can’t deduct the cost of health insurance premiums he pays…

If a self-employed/independent contractor set themselves up as a C-corp or similar entity, I wonder if they could then deduct insurance premiums as a business expense? I left the accounting world almost a decade ago, so I’m not absolutely certain, but I think it would work.

If you are self employed, you can deduct premiums:

By the way, the answer is $0. We really should move to universal health care. We are going to pay for it one way or the other.