Contemplating a fresh job horizon? You’re in good company. Given the average employee hangs onto a job for a mere four years or so, job transitions will punctuate most people’s working lives regardless of age. Whether driven by choice, a shift from full-time to part-time, or a layoff, it’s a significant life milestone with real financial ramifications.
But have you given due thought to what becomes of the insurance coverage you took for granted at your job?
Here are some common concerns employees have about benefits, and what you can anticipate as you set your sights on your next professional venture.
What transpires when you depart from a job with insurance? Should you source your insurance coverage from other channels such as a spouse’s workplace or an independent insurance agent, you can expect little to no change. You maintain your current policies. However, once you transition to your new job, it would be prudent to review their benefits for comparison.
Many employers foot the bill for life and disability insurance for their workforce, or at least significantly subsidize it. Assessing what your new job offers could reveal an opportunity to obtain more coverage with less financial strain.
If you solely rely on an employer-sponsored plan, initiate a discussion with HR or the benefits department to understand the potential impact. Typically, your group life insurance or disability insurance from work could be compromised if you switch jobs, face job loss or retire.
Certain policies might be portable, enabling you to carry them to your new job. Consult with the HR department to explore available options. Should they allow you to retain your plans, you’ll need to transition them from a group policy to an individual one, potentially escalating the price. You’ll also need to shoulder any part of the premium previously covered by your past employer as a component of your benefits package.
What questions should be front and center when opting for a new insurance plan at a job? Beginning a new job is an exhilarating prospect. Alongside your fresh salary, consider the insurance benefits now within reach. Asking the right questions can guide you to the plan that suits you best.
What Range of Insurance Benefits Are on Offer?
Possibilities include health, dental, life, disability, dismemberment, accident or illness insurance, or alternative reimbursement plans. Company benefits are not universally equivalent, so it’s vital to gain a comprehensive understanding of what’s up for grabs.
May I Peruse a Summary of the Life Insurance Plan Options?
Your new employer may tout life or disability insurance, but what does that entail? Are the premiums within your means? Does it provide sufficient security for you or your family in the face of adversity? What’s the duration before you’re covered? Is a medical examination required?
Workplace life insurance is a valuable perk, but coverage generally extends to one or two times your salary, or a predetermined sum such as $50,000. While it may seem like an impressive amount, it’s crucial to consider how long your dependents would need to rely on this sum to maintain financial stability.
Ensure you’re familiar with the nitty-gritty of plan options before you commit, and ponder investing in an individual life insurance policy of your own. It remains with you regardless of your employment status.
Is There a Defined Enrollment Period?
Most employers allocate a specific period for plan signup, be it 30 or 90 days. This often aligns with your eligibility to begin. Alternatively, they might set you up at the start of the forthcoming enrollment period. Make sure to inquire about the timeline and the repercussions of missing it; it might result in a mandatory wait for the next open period.
Insurance needs can arise unexpectedly. Owning an individual life or disability insurance policy ensures you’re protected regardless of the enrollment period. Your home or car insurance provider may offer these other policy types.
How Is the Premium Payment Structured?
Some workplace-offered insurance plans may be partially or fully covered by your employer, but it isn’t a given. They might propose various plans, with only the cheapest, minimal-coverage plan being free. Understand the cost to you and how this expense will be met. If it’s directly deducted from your paycheck, does it occur monthly, weekly, or at a different interval?
It’s common for employers to provide multiple coverage options, and you might initially only be comfortable affording the lower-priced plan. While the level of coverage you need is a personal decision, consider how you might manage to afford more coverage as time goes on. What are your aspirations for next year, once you’ve started to accumulate more income from your new role?
By conducting an annual policy review, you can balance your insurance needs against your budget and aspirations for potentially augmenting your coverage each year. With the employer shouldering some of the policy costs, it’s a fantastic opportunity to expand your coverage without digging too deep into your own pocket.