SSC Editorial: Spousal Surcharges

I had to laugh as I write this, the “Spousal Surcharges” title is awfully close to clickbait. The topic is health insurance and the growing trend of employers charging employees a fee if their spouse has the option to get insurance via a different employer and opts out.

Whichever side of the issue you agree with, if you look at the other side it’s hard to not see it as reasonable too. The difference is employees have little choice. The insurance subsidy that most employers provide as part of the compensation package is enough that for most employees it makes no sense to look to the open market.

The only way to fix this is in my view is to take health insurance out of the compensation package. I can see employers negotiating some dollar amount as their health insurance offer and tagging that on the paycheck so it’s non-taxable. I’d like to see something similar for the 401k – perhaps the employer would deposit the money directly to keep things clean.