Author Topic: How do I respond to this email from my husband's boss? (health insur/benefits)  (Read 5961 times)

N

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Hello MMMers.

My husband works for a family owned business with 5 or so employees. In October, my husband was told that the company would no longer offer health insurance, and the family policy we had would end dec 31, 2013. We had been paying 50%, which amounted to 160$ a week being taken out of his check, after taxes, etc. So, approx 650$ a month was our share. That policy had a 1500 per person deductible and 3500 out of pocket max per person.

the company brought in an insurance agent last month with some quotes and plans. Husband says Boss said something about giving Husband "cash" to help cover it. But it is not specific and Husband is extremely reluctant to ask about it again. (extremely. like, wont.)

I feel like he has essentially lost a key benefit. for the past several years (maybe even 4) he has been encouraged to work overtime, he gets paid hourly, and he averaged 8-10 OT a week, at time+half, which was 100-200 extra net dollars a week. This year that stopped. another big loss for us.

(This part is not really the company's concern, but in the past two years we had 3 medical events that we paid around 5k each for, and there is a high likelyhood that my husband will have to pay the max out of pocket this year, too. and maybe for every year from now on.)

The new policy I signed up for is 580/month with a 6k deductible/ 6 k max out of pocket (us and 2 kids)
Although the monthly premium is half the old one, the deductibe and out of pocket are significantly higher and we will likely have to pay at least one.

if my husband needs surgery this year (unknown, but possible) he will likely lose several weeks of work, unpaid, and we have no supplemental insurance.

So, I had emailed his boss because they were still taking the weekly fee out and I wanted to find out what date that ended and then Boss emailed this back:

"Let me know if you need any help, I do still plan on giving (your husband) a year end bonus, hopefully soon.
Our sales were down 28% this year, so it has been a bit rough, but I am working on some new clients for 2014.
(your husband) is a good guy and you guys make a great family, I consider you guys like my family too. "

Is this an opportunity for me to ask about cash compensation (or any other kind?) for our new policy? I have, in the past, had emails with the Boss where Ive asked if my husband is due for a review, helped plan husbands time off for vacation and other lesser questions. Husband did get a review and a raise in 2012, after the email discussion I had with the Boss. but he could have planned to do that already and thought I was butting in and I have no idea.

I really dislike interfering and being in the middle, and I have no idea if it helps or hinders. Part of me is very anxious to know what the plan is, if the Boss is going to help pay for insurance, how and how much? and when? etc, and part of me thinks, whatever happens will happen and its not my place to try to negotiate benefits for my husband, nor do I have much experience doing so, and I dont know his Boss all that well. and its all by email. (on the other hand, should I not try to secure help that could amount to hundreds of dollars a month just because my husband is being mule headed??)

So, I basically dont know what to do, and if I do ask, dont know what to say.

to me, it seems unlikely that my husband would get fired for any reason, unless the whole company went under. he is the only person there who does what he does, and when he had a medical emergency this past january, he was out for 3.5 weeks and they were going insane without him.

at the same time, if my husband loses his job, we would be in massive trouble.

so I lean towards being safe and not asking for anything (probably my husbands reasoning) but still worrying that if we dont ask, we get nothing, but if we do ask, we might get more. and more would really help us now that I have established a very mustachian budget, and paid off our cc and medical debt, and are working towards saving.

My husband *did* say that the Boss would "help with cash", but then I wondered if the wording in the email he sent implied that he wasnt going to offer cash unless we asked. It seems like a very elaborate political puzzle-and Im stumped.

thanks for reading all this, and advice is appreciated.

N

gooki

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If it was me, my response would be...


Thanks, we look forward to a year end bonus.

Happy holidays, from the whole family.


Self-employed-swami

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I agree with Gooki.  You need to let him handle the rest now.

I live in Canada, so we have universal healthcare, but I've talked to my husband's benefits plan administrator before, about how to file claims (website for the forms, addresses, stuff like that) but I would never think to undermine him by asking about something that he should be handling, like compensation, or even vacation time (but in a more family business setting, I could see discussing vacation not being out of left field).


dragoncar

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Just out of curiosity, how much do the Obamacare plans cost for you?

I agree it sounds like he's losing a lot of benefits.  I'm guessing that the Boss is being straightforward with you -- it sounds like the company is not doing well.  It's fine to ask for more, but it might not happen, and things could certainly get worse.

Would he consider looking for another job?  Reduced benefits and an explicit statement that revenue is down seem like red flags to me.

MissStache

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Would he consider looking for another job?  Reduced benefits and an explicit statement that revenue is down seem like red flags to me.

I thought the same thing.  Sounds like boss is a good guy, but a 30% reduction in income is a big hit for a company.  Hubby should start looking at other options in case the place goes under.

I would thank the boss in advance for the bonus and wish the company luck in the new year, but that's it.

aj_yooper

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I would look into the insurance exchanges to find suitable insurance. 

fodder69

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Yeah, it couldn't hurt to check the exchanges. My recollection is they have a max out of pocket of 5200 or so so that could be a help.

And yeah, I wouldn't push the boss my any means; it is up to your husband. Not sure why he is being stubborn since you rarely get anything unless you ask for it.

N

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thanks everyone.

the plan I got was also on the exchange, I just ended up getting it thru the agent for the same price.

I tried to get my kids on the state plan, as our income qualified us, but there is a rule that they have to be uninsured for 12 months or have lost insurance from a job loss to qualify. which is too bad because the state coverage was a lot better and less expensive.


Catbert

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I agree with gooki, you need to respond back simply and end the conversation.  I would add "and then stay out of it".  You need to dis-engage from dealing with your husband's employer.  When I still worked I would occasionally have a husband who wanted to get involved on their wife's behalf.  (Usually husbands and occasionally mothers.)  It made the employee look ineffective and didn't yield the results hoped for.  My response was always to forward the e-mail/voicemail to the employee asking if there was something they wanted to talk to me about.


zinethstache

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I am torn on this, the above responders suggesting that you bow out is "ok"...

except for this, if you are the primary money person in your household, you need answers for 2014 budgeting, and if your DH like mine is too busy working and it causes you undo stress and you have to nag him to get to the benefits people whom he might never see then I would make your email cover both the medical payment and bonus.

As I under stand it the owner already sent an earlier email stating there would be some monetary compensation for benefits dropping (typical with small companies) and then you have this direct email of a bonus, I think it is fair to sandwich in that older email and cover two topics in one.

Ask if they have calculated the benefits cash payment so you can budget for next year and then close with we look forward to the bonus.

Done deal, both topics handled nicely.

THEN hand it off to your husband. If you are handling the money you MUST know what if any medical coverage compensation you are can expect.

Glad you already bought an exchange coverage for next year, that at least is one major item off your plate!

N

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I do agree that I should not really be involved at all!

oldtoyota

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I agree with gooki, you need to respond back simply and end the conversation.  I would add "and then stay out of it".  You need to dis-engage from dealing with your husband's employer.  When I still worked I would occasionally have a husband who wanted to get involved on their wife's behalf.  (Usually husbands and occasionally mothers.)  It made the employee look ineffective and didn't yield the results hoped for.  My response was always to forward the e-mail/voicemail to the employee asking if there was something they wanted to talk to me about.

Wow. I have never heard of a spouse talking to the boss. If one of my employee's spouses did this, I would think less of the employee. They should be able to talk on their own.


mm1970

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I agree with gooki, you need to respond back simply and end the conversation.  I would add "and then stay out of it".  You need to dis-engage from dealing with your husband's employer.  When I still worked I would occasionally have a husband who wanted to get involved on their wife's behalf.  (Usually husbands and occasionally mothers.)  It made the employee look ineffective and didn't yield the results hoped for.  My response was always to forward the e-mail/voicemail to the employee asking if there was something they wanted to talk to me about.

Wow. I have never heard of a spouse talking to the boss. If one of my employee's spouses did this, I would think less of the employee. They should be able to talk on their own.
I have been known to do some background research on current salaries for my husband.  But I did the research, gave it to him, and he used it to negotiate a bigger raise his first year.

You'd have to talk with your husband and get him to do the talking though.