Gone are the days when you’d hear people bragging about their amazing health benefits. It’s more likely that you hear people griping about it. But if you have a company sponsored group health plan, maybe you should be bragging. Those without that option certainly would be jealous.
Bottom line, health insurance is ridiculously expensive regardless of who you are and how you buy it! If you get your insurance through a company, you’re participating in a larger group policy which provides greater discounts. And usually the employer is paying for the employee’s monthly premiums or a majority percentage of it. So as the employee, if you have your spouse and/or children on your plan, the dollars deducted out of your paycheck are most likely going towards their premiums and the company is covering all or part of your premium. It truly is a company subsidized plan. It costs them a ton so employers have gotten smarter about displaying how much they contribute to your premiums on your paycheck to demonstrate just how valuable the perk is.
Here’s why a lot of employees don’t recognize just how valuable their company benefits are. Because premiums steadily increase each year, and have been for over a decade now, individuals with a company or group sponsored health plan pay more each year for their benefits. In many cases it is significantly more. And because we all look at our “take home” pay as what we earn, it looks like you’re earning less each time you go through open enrollment. It’s frustrating and can start feeling like your salary is getting a demotion. The reality is that your company is probably paying more than they were just a few years ago, as they too feel the pinch of escalating health insurance costs. Not to mention, most companies have had to move to high deductible plans which means even if you can handle your monthly premiums, you’re most likely paying “out of pocket” for your medical expenses. Remember going to the doctor and paying a small copay like $15 each time? Well, hold on to that fond memory because you’ll probably never experience that again. And by the way when you do say that out loud, you start sounding like your grandfather, “back in my day a movie was just fifty cents”.
When you start to feel angry or frustrated about how “bad” your company health benefits are, I know just the thing to make you feel better and it may even make you like your employer more. Try going out to HealthCare.Gov (ObamaCare) and experimenting with the alternative. This is where the rest of America goes to get health insurance. And by “the rest of America” I don’t mean the poor; it’s for working professionals, those that are self-employed or who work for a small company – plumbers, dentists, CPA’s, attorneys, mortgage brokers, realtors, hair stylists, electricians, writers, entrepreneurs, advertisers and anyone who may work for them.
Just recently I went through the arduous process to determine the cost of ObamaCare for my family. Ready for the numbers? I promise it will make you feel better about whatever your company offers!
Crazy, right? But this is the reality for millions of working professionals and small business owners. And it’s worth mentioning that you only have one choice – a plan you’ve never heard of and no, you don’t get to keep your doctor, and in fact, you’ll have a hard time finding a doctor who will accept it. This is the mess that’s been created. If you have a company or group sponsored plan, next time you think about complaining to your friends, you just might want to keep it to yourself and remember how much others are paying. Take a closer look at what your company is offering you and you’ll discover that although it’s not what it used to be, it definitely has real value.
And if you’re lucky enough to be self-employed or your small company does not offer health insurance, just know that there are options to help make insurance more affordable.
Health Plan Source: (healthcare.gov – Maricopa County, Arizona – 2 adults + children, 8/2017)
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Shauna Brown - Independent Licensed Agent