Scoring your first job that offers insurance is very exciting! After the initial euphoria has worn off, or perhaps in the midst of it, it might be time to break down the details to ensure that the insurance plans offered by your employer are enough to sustain your needs and lifestyle. If not, you may find yourself in trouble down the line when something goes awry. So, let’s take a look at important things to know about insurance when you get your first job.
Two Terms to Know
It’swise to understand the basics of insurance, which includes two important terms: deductible and premium. The premium is the amount that you will pay routinely (usually monthly) to maintain your health insurance plan.
If your employer splits the cost with you and helps subsidize your payment, then the premium can be relatively low for yourself or your family. The other number to note and prepare for is the deductible, which is the amount of out-of-pocket expenses you have to pay before insurance coverage will kick in.
For example, imagine you were to get in a car accident, and the stayand treatment in the hospital were
$10,000, but your deductible was $1,000. In this case, you would need to foot $1,000 of the bill before your insurance provider begins to cover the rest. If, at the time of your hospital stay, you already met that $1,000 threshold (paying out-of-pocket for doctor visits, medications, x-rays), insurance should kick in immediately.
Popular Plan Options
There are a number of plan types that an employer can choose between when structuring their insurance for employees. Sometimes an employer will give you the option to pick which plan works for you, and other times they’ll give you a plan with no flexibility. The two most common plans include:
PPO stands for preferred provider organization and offers flexibility for choosing your providers, though in-network healthcare is the most cost-efficient. An HMO plan stands for health maintenance organization, and all your services and providers will be direct brands and employees of the company with little flexibility.
For example, if your health insurance provider is Kaiser Permanente, an HMO plan will require that you only visit Kaiser hospitals and see in-house direct employee Kaiser professionals. This can get tricky when opting for extending services like psychotherapy as the company will not cover a psychiatry brand outside of their company, which can leave few options that work for you in-house.
What an Employer Must Provide
As required by law, employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer their employees health insurance. Below this threshold, companies are not required to provide health insurance, though they may do so in order to reap tax benefits. Additionally, the statute for initiating coverage is usually between 60 and 90 days before an employer will cover you, which leaves a two to three-month gap in coverage. Another gap in coverage is supplemental insurance options such as vision and dental plans, which are seen as optional by many employers.
While hearing that health insurance is provided and largely covered by your employer can be exciting, the truth is that many of these companies offer limited benefits to meet the minimum requirement by the government. This can leave some employees lacking the additional coverage they need.
What to Do if Your Health Insurance Doesn’t Provide Enough Coverage
It’s not unusual for employer-provided insurance to max out at a certain amount or exclude coverage in some areas. In this case, you will be responsible for any excess costs, including any high deductibles that must be paid for your insurance to activate. If your health insurance policy is limited, it may be beneficial to purchase supplemental health insurance to help you cover any unexpected costs down the road.
You may want to purchase vision and dental insurance outside of your employer-provided coverage to help reduce costs for routine check-ins and emergencies. Similarly, it may wise to also get a cancer insurance policy that will work with your regular policy to help cover expenses if you get diagnosed with cancer.
Not only can a cancer insurance policy provide peace of mind, but it can also be more impactful than your traditional insurance in the case of emergencies. This is because it generally pays out to policyholders in a lump sum with few guidelines on use, so long as it goes toward fees related to the outlined illness like transportation costs, medical devices, and out-of-network coverage. Consider your options and compare life insurance quotes to figure out what types of additional coverage can best meet your needs.
The content herein is provided for general informational purposes and is not provided as tax, legal, health or
financial advice for any person or for anyspecific situation. Employers, employees and other individuals should contact their own advisers about their situations. For complete details, including availability andcosts of Aflac insurance, please contact your local Aflac agent.
Aflac insurance coverage is underwritten by Aflac. In New York, coverage underwritten by Aflac New York.
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