Experts are anticipating health care costs to rise faster than the growth in the economy. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) predicts this rise to be 5.5 per cent annually for the next decade, starting from 2017.
With the economy not catching up to speed with health care, many employees look for positions that can provide some form of support towards their medical expenses. For many job seekers, learning about the privileges they expect to enjoy as part of their work can be quite shocking.
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Do Employers Offer Free Health Insurance?
Employers pay a certain amount of money towards the health insurance plan of their employees. They do not offer free health insurance to their workers. As per the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010, employers are to pay up to 60 per cent of the premium contributing towards the health insurance plans they offer.
However, you may be lucky enough to land a position in one of the few companies that pay 100 per cent of your health care premium. This is not to be confused with 100 per cent cost of the total health insurance. A premium is a monthly payment that you make towards your health insurance plan. Think of it as the bill you receive from your insurance provider every month. The out-of-pocket cost for your health plan, for example, your deductible, are covered by you. Sometimes, these can be even more than the premium itself!
Can Your Employer Deny You Health Insurance?
You may find it very shocking, but your employer has the right to decline to provide you with health insurance. Despite levying a penalty for not insuring their employees, the ACA does not make it obligatory for business owners to offer health insurance. Hence, there is no requirement for offering health insurance to employees.
Keep in mind that declining to offer is not the same as denying a benefit. Denying a benefit means refusing to pay for or provide for a plan previously offered. If your maximum waiting period of 90 days has elapsed and your health insurance is still to kick in, you may want to notify your supervisor or human resource department about it. You can also consider your legal option to gain the right to health privilege.
Employer Doesn’t Offer Health Insurance Letter
The health insurance letter is a letter or notice that contains information about your current insurance plan and any changes that you might want to make in it for the coming year. It may also contain information about the premium. This letter can be issued to you by the Health Insurance Marketplace and by your insurance provider. They must reach you by email or post latest by November of every year.
It is not incumbent upon the employer to issue a health insurance letter to its employees. However, employees tend to provide their employees with such a letter given that they are not offering health insurance coverage. It will contain basic information about the marketplace and the resources available to employees if they plan on getting insurance themselves. You may request a copy from your human resource department.
Accepting A Job With No Benefits
Landing a job in this economy is a feat in itself. But what if you are offered that position you had been preparing weeks for, just to find that it has no benefits involved? Will you be able to abide by the company regulations without any benefits? What are your options?
Basic benefits normally include paid sick leave, maternity leave, health insurance coverage and in some instances, paid vacation. You may find it acceptable to skip out on some of these benefits, but others may get too costly if you try to make up for them yourself. So, what should you do if you’re offered a job with no benefits?
For starters, it would be wise to remember that having a job is better than not having one at all. Under the current situation of the economy, and seeing how businesses have been affected in 2020, you may want to take the employer up on their offer while at the same time continuing to hunt for a better position. It can help you pay your bills and any outstanding debt while opening up the market for you. And almost every job adds some experience to your cv. So refusing a job without benefits may not be the most rational move of your career.
Secondly, you may also want to consider the nature of the job and the company you’ll potentially be starting with. For some people, landing a job that they love doing might be more valuable than having benefits. It may be something that you had been looking forward to doing for a long time and are passionate to pursue. In this case, maybe your employer will consider providing you with health insurance in the future seeing that you are a valuable and passionate employee. If there is room for growth, you may want to stick around a little longer. Some business owners have the policy to cover health insurance for workers at a certain position or after they have been working for a stipulated period of time. Likewise, if you’re young and just starting out, you may need to gain the experience your no benefits job has to offer. Think about the value added to your resume in terms of experience after completing a few months or a year in the position.
What To Do If Your Employer Does Not Offer Health Insurance?
If your employer does not offer you health insurance or you may be ineligible for it, you may have to consider alternatives.
Your first option is the Marketplace. Fill out an application form and see if you may qualify for certain health plans. These can include plans that offer savings on the premium and lower or discounted out-of-pocket costs. You may also be eligible for inexpensive plans available via Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
If you’re married, your spouse’s health insurance might provide coverage to you as well. Some states also allow a domestic partnership, but you have to back claims of shared living expenses using official documents.
If you’re below the age of 26 and your parents are covered by a health insurance plan, it will also extend out to you. It doesn’t matter if you live with your parents or even in the same state, though you may have to pay more in medical bills if you live in another state.
Some organizations, like labour or trade unions, also provide health insurance for their members. For example, the Freelancers Union, the Affiliated Workers Association (AWA), the American Association Of Retired Persons (AARP), and the Writer’s Guild Of America. Each organization has its own set of rules and eligibility criteria. You may want to check in with them to obtain a plan suitable for you.