Don’t Accept a Job Without Health Care Coverage

Getting your hands on affordable health insurance is not an easy feat these days. Between the rising cost of health care and the increases in health insurance premiums, the ability to purchase coverage that doesn’t cost an arm and two legs is nearly impossible.

It’s for this reason that many experts suggest looking for a job that offers health insurance coverage. However, it’s not always easy to know what to do when you have more than one great job offer; one that pays more but offers no coverage and the other paying less but providing good insurance.

What do you think you should do in this situation? Do you think that health care coverage should be a big factor in your next job?

Why Health Insurance Matters on the Job Front

It’s no secret that many companies have stopped offering employer health insurance to save money. This has a lot to do with the increase in health care costs. A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average cost for health insurance benefits was $2.08 per hour worked in March 2010.

This means for one employee working year-round, the employer must dish out $4,326.40. Of course, the costs quickly add up when you factor in more employees.

Not to mention, according to a recently published report from PriceWaterHouseCoopers, medical costs for employers is expected to increase 9 percent in 2011. For some employers, this means the increased costs will trickle down to employees. For others, eliminating health benefits altogether will likely be the plan.

Luckily, many employers have tried to hold on to their employer health benefits for the sake of their employees. For instance, a recent online survey conducted by Crain Communications Inc. found that out of 3,700 executives, 52.5 percent strongly disagreed with the idea of discontinuing health care benefits. An additional 15.3 percent somewhat disagreed.

According to this survey, most employers would rather continue to offer benefits to their employees. This doesn’t mean that having access to an affordable employer health plan isn’t a hot commodity, however.

Financial Benefits of Employer Health Insurance

As you can probably imagine, the cost of providing health insurance to employers is quite costly. Luckily, many employers belong to health insurance pools that help to lower the costs by offering group rates.

As an individual or head of household, paying for health coverage without employer assistance can be incredibly expensive. According to a 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation study, the average cost of an employer-provided family plan is $13,375 annually. According to a 2009 report from America’s Health Insurance Plans, the cost of some premiums for individually-purchased family plans averaged $6,328 in addition to up to $10,000 paid in additional out-of-pocket expenses.

In the example, the average cost of employer-provided coverage is roughly $3,000 cheaper annually for the employee, which is why many workers hope to have an employer cover some of the costs for them.

How Could Health Care Reform Make a Difference?

The passage of health care reform is something that lawmakers hope will once and for all help all Americans pay for health insurance.

With the creation of health insurance exchanges, high-risk pools and expanding Medicaid to more people, they hope the wall between affordable employer coverage and individually-purchased coverage will begin to crumble.

There’s no doubt that we’re ready for affordable health insurance across the board. Since it’s not here yet, if you’re offered a job with health insurance that pays $33,000 a year or one that offers no coverage and pays $35,000, which should you take? Considering the example above, it looks as though it’s more cost effective to take the job that offers health insurance.