Host: When should employees evaluate their employer's health insurance?
Bob Hurley: Employees should evaluate their employer's health insurance certainly when they are taking their job. Often times, we take our job and then it's on this first day of work that we get handed our health benefits package and the whole process is pretty much just assumed that we are going to take the coverage. I would actually encourage you during the interview process, ask your potential employer if you could actually get a copy of the health insurance benefit package that you would be offered if you were to get that job and actually, go back and review it and see what kind of benefit package that you are getting and then certainly, if you don't do it then on that day that you are finally given that package, you need to take that package home and to review it.
Find out what's in it, what's covered, what's not covered. The other good question to ask your employer is how much of the coverage are they providing, how much are they covering of the cost of that coverage? Many employers are only paying for the employee's coverage and they pay nothing for the other family members at all. Many employees don't realize this that's why it's so expensive and in some cases employers are only paying one half of the employee's cost of coverage and then nothing on the other family members and it can get very expensive that way.
So ask your employer what is the employer contribution towards the cost of my health coverage and how much am I covering. That will give you a good sense of how much of the cost you are on the hook for anyway and then if you are on the hook for a significant portion of it anyway, then you might as well go out and shop on your own and see if you can buy a health insurance plan for yourself and your family members that's more affordable. Again, typically we have families saving hundreds of dollars a year, if not thousands in many cases, by going off on their own and buying their own coverage.