Tuesday, July 23, 2002

My vital stats at the doctor this morning:

Blood pressure: 90/70
Pulse: 56

Maybe I am already dead?

12:47 PM

I am so frustrated. I am struggling to work through the forms to sign up for insurance at the university--allegedly, IU now provides insurance coverage for same-sex domestic partners. The problem is, the second form in the stack is a "Certification of Tax-Qualified Dependents," and it appears to be an affadavit that will indicate that I am a tax-qualified dependent on Catherine. The problem is, I'm not. Because of my freelance work, we file taxes separately, despite the fact that we own a house together. What this means is that because we are not legally married, we have to pay more for this insurance than straight people have to, whether they are tax-qualified dependents or not. Here's the applicable paragraph from the insurance booklet:

"In general, both the university’s and employee’s cost of providing domestic partner benefits is considered taxable income by the IRS. When an employee enrolls a domestic partner or the partner's child in an IU-sponsored health care plan, the employee’s contribution and the university’s contribution for that coverage are the same as for a spouse and spouse’s child. However, due to IRS regulations, these contributions are taxable income and will be added to the employee’s pay as additional wages. This will be reported on the employee’s annual Form W-2 and increases the employee’s taxable gross income for federal and state income taxes as well as for FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes withheld from paychecks. The amount of the additional taxable income depends upon the plan in which the employee is enrolled and the resulting level of coverage (employee/spouse, employee/child, family)."

And here's the example for the health plan we use:

"Example 3:
An employee enrolls along with a non-tax-qualified domestic partner and partner’s child in the IU Precision POS plan. The employee’s additional monthly taxable income is the difference between the total cost of 'family'coverage and the total cost for 'employee only' coverage ($752.33 - $273.10 = $479.23). The annual tax estimate is $2,243. Employee monthly cost is the $194.26 family premium plus $187 in taxes."

If I was legally married, here's what the numbers would be:

Employee/Spouse: $143.46 (medical only) / $152.50 (medical and dental)

There is nothing in the (straight) employee/spouse section that indicates their health insurance benefits will be taxed like mine will be. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the entire thing, but I doubt it.

I could continue my health insurance under the COBRA Act, but then the prices per month are:

One participant: $278.56 (medical only) / $294.24 (medical and dental)

So, essentially, I cannot afford to leave this job and take a job in the field in which I am trained.

I am really, really distressed. Really distressed.

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