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Old 04-03-2013, 09:43 AM   #21
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Ziggy, for point of comparison, my Cobra would be $550 self, $1200 self + spouse with similar HDHP. Dental is $120 for both.

So, what you have is not unusual.

Best of luck in working this out.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:59 AM   #22
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Ziggy, for point of comparison, my Cobra would be $550 self, $1200 self + spouse with similar HDHP. Dental is $120 for both.

So, what you have is not unusual.

Best of luck in working this out.
Makes DW's plan ($930 for employee plus spouse, including dental and vision) seem like a comparative bargain, especially since this medical plan isn't an HDHP. It's still a LOT more than what it should cost us through an exchange in 2014, though.

Clergy generally negotiate "total compensation" from the church -- the total amount of money the church will spend for salaries and benefits -- and then all benefits costs are deducted from that to determine taxable base pay. So that means the employed clergy member sees the entire cost. For example, you might negotiate a total compensation package of $X, and then pay $10K a year in medical benefits plus (say) $5K into retirement, making your pre-tax take home pay $(X-15)K.

Taking health insurance through DW's plan also has the benefit of being entirely paid pre-tax, whereas I believe COBRA would only be deductible to the extent medical expenses exceed 7.5% 10% of AGI (and that assumes what's left is more than the standard deduction).
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-03-2013, 10:00 AM   #23
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ziggy - Maybe it helps you to write out such an analysis as above, but I know it sure is helpful to me (and others too) to read about the process. Thanks.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:11 AM   #24
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ziggy - Maybe it helps you to write out such an analysis as above, but I know it sure is helpful to me (and others too) to read about the process. Thanks.
Writing it out actually does help me clarify the thought process and provides a sanity check in case I have something totally wrong. And I figure that we're definitely not the only folks dealing with these issues in a BOHICA ("Bend Over, Here It Comes Again") economy. So if anyone else can find these thoughts helpful, so much the better.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-03-2013, 10:36 AM   #25
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ziggy, the health insurance numbers sound a lot like this will be a temporary state of affairs. Get through May-December of this year and you should be able to shop on the exchange and see if you can do better.

I think you will look back on this RIF as a huge positive in a year. Congrats.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:51 AM   #26
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Well, it couldn't happen to a more prepared individual.

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Taking health insurance through DW's plan also has the benefit of being entirely paid pre-tax, whereas I believe COBRA would only be deductible to the extent medical expenses exceed 7.5% 10% of AGI (and that assumes what's left is more than the standard deduction).
That tax math might prove compelling. Good thing is you don't have to choose now, and even when you do, you can change your mind.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:02 AM   #27
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COBRA dental coverage is $114 a month. What a ripoff, given the benefit maximums per year. We'll self-insure that one if we're not on DW's plan. (We rarely have $1300 a year in dental expenses anyway, insured or not, and we might be able to negotiate discounts for cash up front.)
I don't have dental insurance, and even though I am "up front" with my dentist about the fact that I am not poor, he automatically gives me 15% off for not having insurance, and that is without any negotiating. If I negotiated, it would probably be even lower.

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Vision is $17 per month and we'd probably take that given our combined vision situation as we usually wind up racking up several hundred dollars a year in covered expenses.
Wow, that is a lot. I haven't spent a penny on vision during the first 3+ years of retirement, although I will probably get new glasses this year at some point.

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Between my wife's new job situation and the coming of PPACA, it looks like the timing of my whacking is extremely fortunate.
Absolutely! She is going to need your support and help, I am sure, and now you will have the time to provide it. Also I seriously doubt that any other ministers' spouses have a full time job right away (if ever) when changing to a new ministry like this.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:10 AM   #28
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Congratulations, Ziggy. It does sound like there's a "bigger" plan in the timing of this. (And I'm not particularly religious... it just seems like the fates have aligned very well.)

I'm currently planning for 2016, like you were - but have my plan B lined up for a possible (hopefully?) RIF this year when our corporate buyout is over.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:35 PM   #29
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I think you'll find there is life after your former mega-corp job. I'm always of the opinion that good things happen to good people, and I'm sure that will be the case for you. Congrats and best wishes on what ever the next step may be, beit another job or ER.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:03 PM   #30
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I'm anticipating the same happening to me before 2017, so we'll see.

Do report back and let us know how it's going. I've often wondered how I'd feel if it were their decision rather than mine. I suspect you'll do just fine...
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:10 PM   #31
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Do report back and let us know how it's going. I've often wondered how I'd feel if it were their decision rather than mine.
I think it might be a lot easier that they took the decision away from me and eliminated all the paralysis-of-analysis and tendency toward "one more year" syndrome.

In truth, FIREcalc already gives me a better than 90% chance, assuming DW stays with her current setup for another 15 years or so (at which time I'd be 62 and she'd be 59; she's hoping for 15-20 years out of this but most clergy work well past 60, by choice). Another 2-3 years would have put me really close to 100%, but at this point, it is what it is.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:54 PM   #32
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Earlier today, assessing the health insurance morass through the remainder of 2013, I wrote:

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Starting to look at the health insurance morass. It looks like COBRA for both of us would cost about $960 per month....

...

It looks like for the rest of 2013 we may need to see if she can get her own health insurance through the church-sponsored group plan while I stay on COBRA. The church plan would also include dental and vision in the premium. Their total employee plus spouse coverage is about $930....
Hmm. I'm seeing short-term plans that would work for up to 11 months with Blue Cross for about $320 per month, for both of us and (ahem) "honest" assessments of our weight and medical history. That 8 months is all I need to bridge Megacorp insurance and the Obamacare exchanges in 2014. It says there's a $2,500 deductible for each of us, a $2 million maximum and covers prescriptions. (No coverage for preventative care, but it's something we can eat for a difference of over $600 per month.) I'm a little wary of these short term plans, but this is a huge difference. Need to look at this more.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:01 PM   #33
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Hmm. I'm seeing short-term plans that would work for up to 11 months with Blue Cross for about $320 per month, for both of us and (ahem) "honest" assessments of our weight and medical history. That 8 months is all I need to bridge Megacorp insurance and the Obamacare exchanges in 2014.
That's great news. Things are changing quickly out there, and even promised firm dates and programs have evaporated. Also, the paper-pushers in these insurance companies are going to be swamped. Bottom line: If you see a "good enough" deal it would probably be smart to lock it in rather than deliberate one fateful day too long.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:01 PM   #34
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Ziggy. I do believe things happen for a reason. It sounds like if this was going to happen, now is the best time for your family.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:16 PM   #35
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I notice you've been a member since 2005. Hopefully being involved in so many discussions about ER has helped you enormously in dealing with this situation. All the best.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:41 AM   #36
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I'm going full on congrats here, no condolences! You'll be fine, and you'll look back at this moment and be glad you got the push.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:42 AM   #37
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You come across as a pretty smart guy with your posts, ziggy. I am sure you will be fine. Take care.
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So much for the best laid plans. I got whacked by a big RIF today.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:28 AM   #38
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I'm going full on congrats here, no condolences! You'll be fine, and you'll look back at this moment and be glad you got the push.
+1. Although you are not yet FI you are most of the way there; and it sounds like your wife's new situation will more than cover the shortfall.

I anticipate that you will likely find some form of alternate employment (perhaps part-time?) that will allow you a nice transition to ER. You've been 'saved' from the dreaded 'one more year syndrome'!

All this talk of health insurance makes me feel lucky not to be an American: it seems like a significant stumbling block for many would-be early retirees.

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I do believe things happen for a reason.
Maybe. But then e.g. one reads about a hardworking mother of three killed by a drunk driver who crossed into her lane. Pretty hard to find any reason for that sort of tragedy.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:32 AM   #39
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To a relative newbie like me....what is "RIF"? thanks....
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:33 AM   #40
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Reduction In Force, a layoff.
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