BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Statistics indicate that Louisiana ranks second only to Mississippi as one of the nation’s most poverty-ridden states. 

Approximately 871,467 people don’t have enough money to secure stable living conditions and purchase basic items essential to survival.

As this is the case, an article that poses the question, ‘Is it possible to make too much money?’ may seem silly. 

But there is a very specific financial category that certain employed individuals fall into.

The irony of being “middle-class” on paper and poor in real life

Some of these workers may earn enough to be considered middle-class income on paper, but due to health insurance costs or taxes, can barely afford to cover the costs of both their monthly bills and basic needs. 

When these individuals seek government assistance, they’re denied, because they “make too much.”   

For example, if a worker who has medical concerns earns a gross income of $40,000 annually but their employer doesn’t provide health insurance, they cannot be covered by Medicaid because they make too much money.

This means the worker will likely seek coverage from a provider listed on the Health Insurance Marketplace®.

For individuals who have specific health care needs, plans can be as much as $400 to $500 monthly, and this does not include the additional costs of doctor’s visits and medications that may range from $200 to $300 or more each month.

In time, after their deductible is met, the costs of doctor’s visits and medications may go down.

But before then, the worker may find themselves living on a middle-class income on paper, while in reality, they’re unable to put food on the table. 

Earning too much and unable to afford groceries

To illustrate, Sandi Zahar, a Texas-based part-time worker who suffers from diabetes, told CNN that a third of her income went to health care costs and that she “made too much” to qualify for food stamps or Medicaid.

This meant she had no way to pay for food, which is key to diabetic health. So, Zahar had to rely on local food banks for nutrition.

Zahar is not alone in struggling to make ends meet despite “making too much money.”

Millions of working Americans earn too much to qualify for federal assistance and struggle to maintain basic necessities such as food and housing. 

Resources

Local assistance for nutritional needs can be found at The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. 

Click here to access the food bank’s website.