Importance of good medical benefits

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
This thread goes along with the theme of my other thread. But this one is more of advice to the young folks out there or those seeking new employment. And that is to ask about the details on your medical benefits when taking a job.

When I first started working at my current company, medical insurance paid for everything. They even paid for some cosmetic surgery for me back in the day.

Over time less and less was covered. Doctors visits were paid by the insurance. Over time a co-pay was added and the co-pays started getting increasingly more expensive. Now they have eliminated the co-pay and you have to pay for the whole cost of the doctors visit up until you pass your out of pocket. For single people that is $2000 for a family I believe it is $4000. The only good news is that the insurance company negotiates a much lower price for the visit that you pay.

Some of you might know I have some issues with my heart. I am pretty fit but my issues still need to be managed. I just got a bill from my electrophysiologist for $185. I will need to visit my cardiologist in June and will get a similar bill. I make OK money and I am single so not a big deal to me, especially since it is for my health. But there are plenty of people at my company in lower level jobs that make far less than me and have families. Frankly I don't see how they do it.

So just a bit of advice. When you negotiate your salary on your new job, know all of your costs to work at the company. Medical costs are going o be a major cost today so it is important that you have an understanding of what that particular company is going to provide.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,125
During my working years I enjoyed very good medical benefits, fully company paid. We also became an ESOP company so along with paid medical and matching 401K we started acquiring stock in the company. During this time my wife's company actually paid her not to use their medical. When B&W (Babcock Wilcox) nuclear operations group bought us part of the deal was since B&W had a 50/50 co pay on insurance, those of us vested in the old salary pension plan would receive and additional $3,000 per year company paid medical, My rate went to 12K annual and I paid 6K but the extra 3K took care of half of that and Kathy was getting 12 K a year not to use their plan. Everything worked out real well. When I retired at 63 I took Cobra for the 18 months allowed by law and that got me right about to 65 and my Medicare. My wife also retired. Today we pay for our Medicare plus about $350 a month for our United Healthcare supplement. Not too bad when all is said and done.

Ron
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,125
So just a bit of advice. When you negotiate your salary on your new job, know all of your costs to work at the company. Medical costs are going o be a major cost today so it is important that you have an understanding of what that particular company is going to provide.
Absolutely and I can't stress the importance of that to my grown children.

Ron
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
13,293
I wouldn't consider working for any company that didn't provide good healthcare coverage.

Be thankful for employer sponsored healthcare. You'll miss it when it's gone...

I worked for more than 32 years at the same company (with a small break to work at a startup). The last couple of years I worked, I was on a high deductible health plan and the company paid the entire cost. I deducted the maximum allowed to deposit in an HSA. That was the best insurance I ever had.

No one in my family had any major health issues aside from an emergency appendectomy and I was "banking" several thousands of dollars a year for future medical expenses.

I had to retire early due to injuries from a motor vehicle accident and have to purchase health insurance on the private exchanges. My insurance has gotten more expensive every year and it covers less, but I'm still thankful for the ACA. Without it, I couldn't get insurance because just about any ailment you have can be classified as a pre-existing condition and would be sufficient to deny coverage (or screw you on premiums) without the ACA.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
27,910
Other 1st world countries, such as Canada, have good publicly funded health care for much less then we pay on average.
Something is wrong here (USA).
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,777
Something is different in the USA called 'The history of the American medical complex'. American doctors and the medical industry benefit from a system that pays them significantly more than doctors/providers elsewhere. It's all about money, period, end ,stop. Trying to convert the current medical complex to anything close to a public entity is next to impossible unless force of arms are used to take their wealth. The fact we don't universal coverage is not right or wrong in our individualistic culture because the medical complex would still be in charge with publicly funded health care.
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
Other 1st world countries, such as Canada, have good publicly funded health care for much less then we pay on average.
Something is wrong here (USA).

I don't want to get into a political debate but you do not pay less for medical coverage in other countries. What you might not pay in direct medical costs, you pay in taxes. Some might come out ahead but someone else is paying for that. Things cost what they cost. Ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
Something is different in the USA called 'The history of the American medical complex'. American doctors and the medical industry benefit from a system that pays them significantly more than doctors/providers elsewhere. It's all about money, period, end ,stop. Trying to convert the current medical complex to anything close to a public entity is next to impossible unless force of arms are used to take their wealth. The fact we don't universal coverage is not right or wrong in our individualistic culture because the medical complex would still be in charge with publicly funded health care.

Would you want the government setting what you are paid? I don't see why anyone with the intelligence enough to become a doctor or even a nurse for that matter, would spend years at medical school, put long grueling hours in for internship and then come out the other end only to have their salary limited by the government.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,777
Would you want the government setting what you are paid? I don't see why anyone with the intelligence enough to become a doctor or even a nurse for that matter, would spend years at medical school, put long grueling hours in for internship and then come out the other end only to have their salary limited by the government.
No, I don't but I also don't want the medical complex using government power to enforce rules and regulations that insure they get paid in a non-competitive way. My problem is not that people are paid well or that companies make money, my problem is the current systems is rigged.
 

JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,390
The US could have "free" medical care. Draft all the doctors so there are no private practices. The US will no longer be a first world country within two generations.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
In general people need to be as fully aware of what the are getting into as possible. There's no one thing that absolutely must be there in the compensation package, except the ability to take a reasonable amount of time off each year. If you pay me a high enough salary, then I can provide my own health coverage and retirement savings. As a contractor, I don't get any benefits, have to pay both sides of FICA, and don't get any paid time off. But my hourly rate is high enough that it more than makes up for that.

What prospective employees need to be able to do -- and sadly few of them really can -- is do an apples-to-apples comparison of compensation packages. The first cut is surprisingly straight forward: you simply convert the offer into an effective hourly wage where you work the same number of hours a year (you simply don't get paid while on vacation or any other day off), you pay all of your taxes, and you have to pay for all of the benefits that you are going to receive. You also need to take into account external costs such as the time and expense associated with commuting. Not only does this allow you to compare different offers, but it gives you an appreciation for what your actual compensation level is.

But this is just the start. If two offers aren't even close, then it may be enough. But there are non-monetary factors such as time away from home on business travel, the nature of the job itself, and the work environment. Some of these, of course, you can't evaluate until you take the job and have been there awhile, but some of the others can be monetized at least roughly by asking how much money would you require (or be willing to give up) to swap one factor of one job for the corresponding factor of another. For instance, if one job is in a cubicle and the other is in a corner office with a descent view, how much would you be willing to pay the company with the cubicle job each month in order to get that corner office with the view that the other company is offering. Or, vice-versa, how much would you insist you get extra to give up the corner office and work in the cubicle. This kind of exercise forces you to really consider what is and what is not important and to estimate just how important it really is to you, personally.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,125
In general people need to be as fully aware of what the are getting into as possible. There's no one thing that absolutely must be there in the compensation package, except the ability to take a reasonable amount of time off each year. If you pay me a high enough salary, then I can provide my own health coverage and retirement savings. As a contractor, I don't get any benefits, have to pay both sides of FICA, and don't get any paid time off. But my hourly rate is high enough that it more than makes up for that.

What prospective employees need to be able to do -- and sadly few of them really can -- is do an apples-to-apples comparison of compensation packages. The first cut is surprisingly straight forward: you simply convert the offer into an effective hourly wage where you work the same number of hours a year (you simply don't get paid while on vacation or any other day off), you pay all of your taxes, and you have to pay for all of the benefits that you are going to receive. You also need to take into account external costs such as the time and expense associated with commuting. Not only does this allow you to compare different offers, but it gives you an appreciation for what your actual compensation level is.

But this is just the start. If two offers aren't even close, then it may be enough. But there are non-monetary factors such as time away from home on business travel, the nature of the job itself, and the work environment. Some of these, of course, you can't evaluate until you take the job and have been there awhile, but some of the others can be monetized at least roughly by asking how much money would you require (or be willing to give up) to swap one factor of one job for the corresponding factor of another. For instance, if one job is in a cubicle and the other is in a corner office with a descent view, how much would you be willing to pay the company with the cubicle job each month in order to get that corner office with the view that the other company is offering. Or, vice-versa, how much would you insist you get extra to give up the corner office and work in the cubicle. This kind of exercise forces you to really consider what is and what is not important and to estimate just how important it really is to you, personally.
Enter the world of self employment which like working for someone else has the pros and cons or simply put the good and bad. Everything mentioned needs all due careful consideration and are very, very good points. Thanks for bringing all of that into the mix.

Ron
 
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