It seems that more and more jobs these days do not offer insurance for entry-level employees. What’s the best job offer: a job that pays more but has no insurance, or one that pays less but has basic insurance coverage? And what should you do for insurance if your job doesn’t offer any benefits right away?
Insurance can be important, especially if you already have health issues that will be difficult to afford on your own. How do you best navigate to apply for insurance when you or a family member has pre-existing conditions?
Depending on the job and your situation, there may be times when you need to take a job that does not offer insurance or other benefits, and other situations where it may be better to keep looking.
What does your employer owe you?
What does your job owe you, anyway?
While the obvious answer is money, the truth is that since so many jobs offer insurance and other benefits, and health insurance, in particular, is usually job-related, it can be argued that your work owes you a certain amount of health care. . This is especially true if the job is particularly strenuous or could permanently damage your health.
Your employer owes you a safe and healthy workplace, which includes ergonomic workstations and disinfection stations (for protection against COVID). Your workplace should be Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) compliant and be safe to work.
If you think you have been injured or made ill as a result of your work, you may be entitled to workers compensation.
However, despite these needs, your workplace does not inherently owe you insurance. Unfortunately, there are many jobs that do not offer benefits, especially if they only hire part-time or temporary workers.
If you have a contract or a freelance position, your job can often save you from paying yourself benefits. This does not inherently mean that the job is bad, but you will need to measure whether the job gives you the other things you need, like job security, physical security, and enough pay so that you can get insurance. by yourself. .
When is a job without insurance worth it?
It may happen that, even if you have insurance, it not enough to cover the damage suffered. Many claims are rejected, and if you have a car accident but already suffer from an illness, you may find that your medical bills are rejected by your insurance company.
This doesn’t mean that insurance isn’t important, but it does mean that if you have special circumstances or live in a dangerous area, you will need other supports for medical and other issues.
Additionally, some companies may offer an allowance that you can use to get your own health insurance plan, rather than the health insurance itself. If it is a small business, you may decide that they offer reasonable health care equivalents or supplements.
If you also have access to insurance through a spouse or partner, it may be less important for you to obtain insurance through your workplace.
If you are technically counting as self-employed, you may be able to obtain market options for health insurance for the self-employed.
Additionally, if you have just quit a full-time job, you can get short-term health insurance through COBRA, which allows you to keep your old health insurance for 18 months. COBRA will also cover you if you had health insurance through a parent or spouse.
Union members can also obtain health insurance through them. The AARP, Union of Independents, Writers Guild of America, Association for Computing Machinery, and Affiliated Workers Association all offer a variety of health insurance options for members.
Finally, if you have access to affordable health care outside of your job, it may be worth getting a job that doesn’t.
If you only intend to work temporarily or part-time, or if you really need the income, you may find that a job that doesn’t offer insurance is still worth it. accepted.
When to refuse to accept a job that does not offer social benefits?
If you don’t get insurance, you should get a pay rate that takes that into account. If your job is not prepared to pay you a competitive rate, then it may be better to take a job that pays less but offers benefits.
Take the time to compare how much you would have to pay for insurance out of pocket to get a real comparison of what a job without benefits pays.
If your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you can ask if they offer a defined contribution plan instead. This gives you a set amount through payroll each month that you can use to get individual health coverage. If they don’t offer this, you might be better off finding an employer that does.
If you have a serious or chronic illness like diabetes and know you need regular access to care, health insurance coverage may be more important to you than a high salary. Consider your personal needs.
If you need prescription medication or need surgery or specialty treatments, you may need to turn down jobs that don’t provide health coverage.
If the job seems particularly dangerous, trying, questionable, or has a high turnover rate, you are entitled to refuse it. This is especially true if you have enough savings or financial backing that you can afford to be a little demanding. There is nothing wrong with looking for a better job.
How demanding can job seekers be?
Many people lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it can be difficult to find a new career path. Due to the pandemic, many people are struggling to find work, and you may not be able to afford to wait to find the perfect job. Take your particular situation into account and decide on a period of time during which you can be without work.
Keep in mind that even if the demand for a job is high, you have rights.
Employers often rely on the fact that their future employees are so grateful for a job that they don’t apply. Know that you have the right to a safe and healthy workplace and that you have the means to support yourself physically and medically.
A good employer will care enough about your health to be ready to talk about options, whether it’s a higher rate of pay or adjusted benefits.
Deborah Goldberg writes and researches workers’ compensation and benefits for the insurance comparison site, LaVéritéAboutInsurance.com.