Should you Choose Your Employee Benefits Through Work?

Pros and Cons of Being Part of Employer Sponsored Benefits Programs

Group Insurance Plans.

With the Affordable Care Act in full swing, employers across the country are making a concerted effort to meet the minimum employee benefit requirements under this law. Some are doing this purely because they do not want to be fined by the government if they fail to offer adequate coverage. A growing number of employers are against the ACA rules and would like to see some big changes made, while even more are welcome to the changes in health care management.

Small businesses are caught in the crossfire.

But the people who matter the most in the ACA debate are the very people who are feeling the financial pinch this year. Employees are turning to the health care marketplace to find low cost insurance options to meet ACA guidelines, while others are purchasing their benefits as offered by their employers.They are even basing job searches on the types and affordability of group benefits offered. 

As an employee, there are pros and cons to taking part in employer sponsored benefits programs. We will discuss both sides of the spectrum here, so you can make your own decision.

The Pros of Employer Sponsored Benefits Programs

The first ‘pro’ of taking part in an employer sponsored benefits program is the fact that the programs generally offer lower premiums than buying insurance on your own. High deductible health care plans make this possible. Many group programs are able to reduce the premiums paid by the members because of the sheer numbers of participants.

The more people who sign up for the plan, the lower the premiums get with volume discounts.

Some experts also believe that eligible employees could see their monthly employee benefit premiums drop over time and eventually lead to receiving nearly free health coverage if the rates continue to drop. Members of these groups still have to pay the plan deductibles, doctor visits and co-pay for medical procedure, but they can be managed by using health savings accounts.

This gives plan members more purchasing power.

Another pro of joining an employer sponsored benefits program is that a large group might make it easier for people with pre-existing conditions to obtain and keep health coverage under Obamacare rules. It can be difficult for those with pre-existing conditions to find coverage, but a large group could not only make it easier to obtain coverage, but also find coverage that is affordable. This also applies to insurance programs like life insurance that is nearly impossible to find if you have certain health risks, like obesity and tobacco use. Finding a job that offers great benefits with zero screening of these conditions can be appealing to many people. 

The Cons of Employer Sponsored Benefits Programs

The first ‘con’ of joining an employer sponsored benefits program is the complete lack of choices in health policies. In a plan sponsored by an employer, the employer picks the plans that can dictate which doctors the employees can see and which health options cover the majority of the employees at the company. This is a major negative because some people might have to begin see a new doctor after seeing the same one for 20 or more years.

They also might have to pay for vision and dental needs out of their own pocket if not covered under the group plan.

Another common negative of joining an employer sponsored benefits program is that some employees at the company might consider the premiums and coverage of a group plan unfair. These people are typically younger employees who do not need coverage for a family. A group plan premium might appear to be unfair for younger employees, or fitness-oriented employees, who are likely on the lower end of the salary spectrum. They may feel short-changed because they are paying the same premiums as other employees who are leading less healthy lifestyles.

As you can see, there are certain pros and cons to joining an employer sponsored benefits program, but this is far from an exhaustive list.

The scope of negatives and positive are individualized and based on the preferences and needs of each individual employee. But, with the pros and cons outlined here, you can decide for yourself what route to go when purchasing health insurance products. Be a smart health benefits consumer and choose wisely. 

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