Starting a new job or debating leaving your current one? There are so many things you have to consider and there is never a perfect time to do either. Even starting a new job is something we are not sure about. Is it a good company, will you like the people and the atmosphere, will there be issues that you cannot get past, how good are the benefits and plenty of other questions that will have to be answered as soon as you make the decision to work there.
As workers, we tend to focus more on the benefits than the pay. The belief is that if the benefits are fantastic, it can actually make the job far more valuable. For example, if a company has a great 401k program where they match higher than another competitor, you may consider them even if they are offering a bit less because you will make up the difference and more with the match.
Why Employers Offer These Benefits
One of the key reasons employers offer these benefits is because they want to give the worker more incentive to stay within the company. That may seem odd to some who think that benefits are designed to make employment more attractive to potential employees. While that’s someone true, you have to remember that many companies struggle to keep their best workers long-term. These people eventually look for bigger and better opportunities, especially financially. However, by offering high-quality benefits, employers can give workers extra incentive to stay long-term.
What You Should Look For In Employer Benefits
When you are job hunting you need to look at a variety of things before you apply. Are you qualified, would the type of work be a good fit for you, is it a commute you are willing to make and more. It’s difficult to compare the benefits of each job beyond their pay unless you are familiar with them and what to expect. This is also a good lesson in researching your options and packages at a new job. Each employer offers unique options and tweaks to their benefits packages that need to be considered when looking at:
- Retirement: One of the most important options is also one of the more affordable for employers to offer, especially in companies that have employee-owned stock. Options like 401k and IRA plans are common and matchback or contributions should be one of the main things you focus on here. Some companies will match 3% but they put a cap on how much annual contributions they will make.
- Health insurance: A key area of the benefits package is the health insurance which is where employees are often most focused on, especially if they have a family. Because employers are able to get discounts for group enrollment, insurance companies may offer better plans or more affordable ones. Employers may also cover a percentage of the monthly costs.
- Personal time and flexibility: How much time off are you given at your new job? It’s a simple question but you also need to research your eligibility. For example, some companies may offer two weeks of vacation for year, however, they do not allow those days to roll over to the next year or they do not let you do back to back weeks. Each company has their own set of rules that come with personal time and this needs to be researched and discussed with human resources to ensure you do not lose any of your given time off.
- Long-term loyalty and proven stability: Along with retirement benefits, employees want to know what they can count on if they commit to the same job for a long period of time. For this, the key points to look at are promoting from within and the stability of the company during recessions. If the company has had to let a lot of people go each time the economy hit a rough patch and they do not promote from within, they may not be someone you would consider a reliable long-term option.
The packages each company offers are different but may also accommodate their employees more for a specific reason. Be sure to consider this and feel free to ask questions. Companies appreciate potential workers who are interested in learning more about these advantages and what makes them different. You can also learn a lot about how current workers feel about their options and if they are happy with what they are getting, especially if they have been there for years.
How To Compare Health Insurance Options
Health insurance is the most common benefit offered by companies. However, more and more individuals are finding that the coverage they are offered thru their employer may not be the best option for them. When you consider the cost of indidivudal coverage, you may find that you are paying more than you expected or get less coverage with a new plan. That’s why it’s important to check:
- Compare coverage: What are you actually getting covered for with these plans? Can you go to your doctor? How much would you have to pay? What would you have to pay if you needed to get some bloodwork done? Which facilities can you go to? Do you have to get a referral to see a specialist? These are just some of the questions you have to ask an experienced health insurance advisor. They can tell you exactly how your current coverage compares and which option is best for you.
- Check with doctors and pharmacies: One very common mistake people make is that they forget to make sure that a new plan also is accepted by their preferred doctors, pharmacies and also covers any current medications they are on. If a new plan offers better coverage but does not allow you to get the medication you want or see the doctor you want, those are things you need to be aware of before you decide.
- Look at out of pocket costs: What will you end up paying out of pocket through a normal year? That’s a reasonable question and it gives you an idea of what costs where compared to each year. If you notice that your costs are going up, you may want to look for plans with lower premiums. However, if you are paying too much out of pocket every year, you may consider paying more per month.
- Look at monthly premium: Your monthly premium is something you should be concerned with the least. While that’s easier said than done, often the more expensive the plan, the more coverage it offers. So, how can a health insurance advisor assist you if the most expensive plans are the best? Because often, we do not need the top plans. They can research the options available and give us individual plans that fit our needs and financial parameters even better.
More than likely, you will be utilizing your employers insurance plan over an individual plan. However, as more and more people utilize the option of working with an independent health insurance advisor, the number of individual plans over employer ones is going up because the worker is learning the advantages offered by both and how they adapt to their needs.