I recently received a raise at work, but I'm now taking home less pay. This is due to our medical insurance plan. It's tier based and apparently my meager $283 / year increase has now caused me to lose $1,200 / year.

This raise was due to a position change (it's so small since it's just aligning me with the bottom tier of that position, I'll receive a more substantial increase in 6 monyhs), however I also would have more than exceeded the new threshold next year in my old position just due to annual increases.

Would it be bad form to ask for a raise on the raise since it's now costing me more money?

In case it's needed I work for a private company, no contract in Florida (USA) and am a salaried full time employee.

Additional clarification. Without consulting hr I can't say for sure and I doubt they'd tell me anyway, but I believe my new rate of pay is the exact cut off for the next insurance rate tier. If I had stayed in my new position i would have surpassed that cutoff (ie my current rate) by at least $1,000. In 6 months I'm expected to see an increase of $5,000 above my current rate.

  • What country do you work in? – Cloud Jun 13 '17 at 1:17
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    Just to make sure I understood correctly: you're saying that if you had stayed in your old position, by next year your total salary would be higher than it will be in the new position, even after the "substantial increase" coming in 6 months? – Steve-O Jun 13 '17 at 1:18
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    Ask to have your most recent ($283/year) raise to be deferred and added on to the "big raise" later in the year. You still get the total benefit of both raises, and don't get hit with excess costs. – Cloud Jun 13 '17 at 15:51
  • @Steve-O: there's a difference between gross, net pay and net-after-benefits. Useful to use these terms. – smci Dec 12 '18 at 22:44

Would it be bad form to ask for a raise on the raise since it's now costing me more money?

You certainly could explain your situation regarding the insurance tier and ask for more money to at least make you whole. I'm guessing that wasn't intentional, and your employer may be able to do something about it.

If that fails, ask if you can decline the $283 / year "raise" in order to stay under the insurance threshold.

  • Assuming that the tier you were in was a subsidised tier, it is highly unethical to turn down a raise. Basically you are saying that you were more satisfied when other people covered your insurance costs. – Stian Yttervik Jun 14 '17 at 7:38
  • Absolutely. But going up in insurance tiers, should be celebrated: not needing other peoples money to survive... I can see how this celebration might be far down on the list of things to celebrate if one is struggling to make ends meet, but still. Refusing the raise in this case is about as unethical as going out and pickpocketing 1000$ / year - in my opinion. (But less risky and easier, certainly). And I have to say, poorly designed insurance tiers - it is possible to design the system so that every extra dollar earned means more money in the pocket. – Stian Yttervik Jun 14 '17 at 10:15
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    @StianYttervik: It's highly unethical to design such a tier system. Don't blame the person playing by the rules, blame the person making the rules. These things are not accidents, the problem is well-known in policy making circles. – MSalters Jun 14 '17 at 10:56
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    @MSalters Ok, this is perhaps sliding off topic; I am partly to blame, however when I see a part I feel is unethical in an accepted answer, I believe I should comment upon that (others; you, Joe, have since presented other views and all is as it should be). We can continue the philosophy in chat, if you wish. – Stian Yttervik Jun 14 '17 at 12:02

Maybe you can go back to your old salary and be compensated in extra paid vacation time rather than dollars - for now. That way, you trade one perk for another, without taking home less money. Can't hurt to state your case and ask.


If you got a small raise and that effectively causes you to lose money, it's obvious that you would want to do something about it. Two obvious ways are giving up a tiny bit of salary, or getting a lot more salary. The company would obviously prefer the first method, since it is cheaper for them, and to you it doesn't make a difference.

I would contact HR, explain the situation, and the most likely to succeed without negative consequences would be giving up some salary to optimise the pocket in yur money, while recording in your personnel file that you deserve the higher salary, and any future raise should be calculated based on the higher salary.

Asking for a $1200 dollar raise which wouldn't be based on your actual performance seems unlikely to succeed.

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    The medical insurance premiums are paid either by the company or by the employee. The cost of the insurance doesn't change because OP got a raise, just what share of that cost the OP has to pay. So, it's actually a wash for both of them between lowering or raising OP's pay. In fact, numerically it's better for the company to do neither, and leave OP's pay right where it is. (not that I'm saying that would be a wise nor fair move on their part.) – stannius Dec 17 '18 at 22:46

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