A Guide to Navigating Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Healthcare Writer

Published on April 4th, 2024

Fact checked by: Colleen McGuire

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Understanding Your Job’s Health Insurance

Choosing health insurance can be tricky, especially through your job. Here’s a simple guide to help you figure out what to do about health insurance at work.

What You Need to Know:

– You Don’t Have to Take It: You might be able to get health insurance from your job, but you don’t have to. You can look at other options if you want.

– Lots of People Use It: Most people in the U.S. who are under 65 get their health insurance from their jobs. It’s a big deal when looking for a job; some people consider it almost as important as how much money you make.

– Not Every Job Offers It: Some companies don’t have to give health insurance. It depends on how many people work there. The company usually has to offer insurance if there are 50 or more employees.

Essential Things to Think About:

– Who Can Get It: If you work full-time, you’ll probably get health insurance. Part-time workers might get it too, but it might not be cheap.

Looking for Health Insurance?

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– How Much it Costs: Your job might pay part of the bill for your health insurance every month.

– Waiting to Be Covered: You might not get insurance right away. Sometimes, you have to wait, but it shouldn’t be more than 90 days from your employment start.

Different Kinds of Plans:

– HMO, PPO, HDHP, and More: Your job might have different types of health insurance plans. Each works a bit differently, offering different ways to balance costs and flexibility.

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO Plans): You must go to certain doctors and usually need a referral from your main doctor. 

–  Preferred Provider Organization (PPO Plans): You can go to more doctors, but it might cost more if seeing specialists. You don’t need a referral.

High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP Plans): You pay more out-of-pocket, but your monthly bill might be lower.

– Covering Your Family: Your kids can be on your plan until they’re 26, but your spouse might have different rules.

Is Work Insurance Right for You?

– Costs Less: Usually, health insurance through work is cheaper because your job helps pay for it.

– Compare Plans: Always look at how much you’ll pay and what you’ll get with any new plan compared to what you have now.

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Other Choices:

ACA Marketplace Plans: If your job doesn’t offer insurance, you can check out plans online. You might get help paying for it.

– COBRA and Short-Term Plans: If you leave your job, COBRA lets you keep your insurance for a bit. Short-term health plans can help until you get new insurance.

Medicaid: If you don’t make much money, you might qualify for free or low-cost insurance through Medicaid.

Deciding What to Do:

Compare all your options, including plans from your spouse, online or through Medicaid, depending on income. Think about what you need and how much you can spend. And remember, what’s best for you might not be best for someone else.

Article Sources

“Employer-Sponsored Coverage.” TurboTax, Intuit, https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/health-care/what-is-employer-sponsored-coverage/L01gcZpTR. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

“Health Plans.” U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

“Employer-Sponsored Health Plans.” Healthinsurance.org, https://www.healthinsurance.org/glossary/employer-sponsored-health-plans/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

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