Health Insurance – There’s a lot of talk about health insurance, but what does it all mean? Health insurance is designed to help pay for medical expenses. Generally it is a good idea to get regular physicals and have appropriate testing based on your age each year. This ensures you are monitoring your health and catching problems early helping to minimize their impact on your life. Health insurance helps to pay all or some of the bills related to these services. Also if you get sick or hurt, your insurance will pay some or all of the bills.
Employers have a variety of healthcare plans but the important thing to consider is how much do they pay for it vs. you will pay, and how big is your “deductable”. A deductable is the amount you have to pay for services out-of-pocket before the insurance kicks in. Understanding how much the employer is paying is important when comparing jobs. If one employer pay 100% but the position you are considering pays .50 cents less an hour, while the other job only pays 75%, you may end up better off with the smaller pay rate in the long run. It is important to look at those costs when reviewing health insurance. Want more information? Check out Basics of Health Insurance
Vision Insurance – just like regular health insurance, vision insurance provides the same function when it comes to your eye care and glasses. Often these plans help reduce the costs of glasses or contacts and can be very beneficial if you currently wear them or might need them in the future.
Dental Insurance – As with health and vision insurance, dental insurance helps cover the costs for dental visits, cleanings, x-rays, and emergency issues. Dental procedures can get very costly so it is important to consider dental insurance.
Life, Disability, Pet and other Insurance – Some employers offer other types of insurance to help pay you for different situations. Life insurance pays a lump sum to a person of your choosing if you were to die. This can help with funeral expenses and other challenges that arise when someone passes. Disability Insurance covers your expenses (to some degree) if you were to become disabled and weren’t able to work. Pet insurance covers expenses related to a family pet. When talking about benefits with a hiring manager, be sure to understand all the types of insurance offered.
Time Off – It is important to understand not only when you will work, but also when you will have time off. This includes holidays, vacations, and any times the business is closed. Also, be sure you understand what you will be paid for and what you won’t. For example, if you work at a shopping mall, it is very difficult to get time off between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And it is generally not paid time off. While some manufacturing plants actually close between December 25 and January 2.
401(k) / retirement programs – While retirement programs and 401(k)s don’t put money in your pocket today, it does mean you will have money when you are ready to retire. Starting to save early in your career gives the money time to grow and can help make your future that much more secure.
Tuition Assistance – Many companies offer employees the opportunity to go to school while they are working and will help pay the tuition. This can be a big benefit if after working for a time you find an area where you would like to specialize.
There are many other types of benefits, but the key here is to ask if they don’t tell you in the interview. Decide what is important to you going in and then hear what else they offer. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. A hiring manager will value your willingness to ask when you don’t know something and you will get better information!