When choosing a job, is the benefits package one of your deciding factors? Are you slowly ebbing away from that dream designer or marketing job in favor of low co-pays?
For many people, working for a company that offers a superior health benefits plan is a top priority, especially for families.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 55 percent of people receive their health insurance through an employer. About 30 percent are enrolled in a public health insurance program, such as Medicare, and about 10 percent have individual plans.
Choosing a health insurance plan is an important decision.
You need to have adequate coverage that makes sense for you and your family, plus be able to afford the monthly premiums.
Benefits of employer plans
With employer plans, the employer chooses the health insurance company along with the types of plans that are offered. This simplifies the process for you and makes choosing a plan less stressful.
The employer also pays part of the premiums, which should make the plan less expensive for you (assuming you compare two of the same plans).
Payments are automatic, which can be a huge plus for those that either have a hard time paying bills on time or do not have a budget in place.
The money is taken out of your paycheck before you even see it, which eliminates the need to pay another bill each month.
Benefits of individual plans
The main benefit of having your own plan is that it's not dependent upon employment.
If you were to get laid off, fired, or choose to go into business for yourself, your health is still covered. With many companies downsizing or choosing to contract the work out, it may make more sense to have your own plan that's not affected by today's ever-changing economy.
An individual plan also gives you the freedom to explore other career options, if you choose.
Some people admit to feeling stuck at a dead-end job but refuse to do anything about it out of fear of losing their benefits. With an individual plan, you have more control over your work life and, ultimately, your happiness.
The final benefit of having an individual plan is you have the freedom to choose your own doctors.
With employer plans, you must see a doctor that is in your plans network. Same is true for individual plans, but you can pick a plan that has certain doctors of your choice as part of their network.
Changing healthcare costs
Before choosing a plan, you should research and get estimates from a few different health insurance companies.
While employee plans may seem like the way to go, costs of healthcare are rising and most employers can't cover as much as they could in days' past.
In 1999, for example, employer health insurance cost slightly more than $2,000 per year for a single employee.
Fast-forward to now, and those costs are $5,600 per year. Family plans are even more expensive, costing the company more than $15,000 per year.
Overall, you have to do your research and choose a plan, whether company or individual, that makes the most sense for you.
Maybe you'll even be able to get such a plan and still pursue your creative dreams. It's tough to get it all right, but crazier things have happened.