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Ensure your Health: Learn about Employee Health Benefits

Aug 17, 2007
Being an employee of any company allows you to receive some perks, fringe benefits and privileges aside from the salary that you regularly receive.

One of the most important benefits that you should get at work is a health benefit or medical plan. Especially for jobs which present risks on your health or on your life, make sure that you are always adequately insured.

First, take a look at the disadvantages to you, as an employee, if you do not have sufficient health benefits from the company that you work for:

- If you suffer from a long-term or temporary illness that would lead you incapable to go to work for a long period of time, your savings can be gone in an instant.

- With the onslaught of hospital bills that you would need to shoulder, other members of your family will be affected as well if you share household expenses.

- Your own personal well-being will be at risk if you do not have ample health benefits.

To prevent these from happening, you should know the basic health benefits that you are entitled to once you become officially employed by a company.

'Health Benefit Plans for You'

The government offers the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan to assist all workers with their health care needs.

Here, health and dental plans developed by insurance companies and labor unions are offered to employees of the government. The coverage and premiums, however, vary from state to state.

Your employer might have a traditional health insurance company where you will have the option to visit any physician or hospital, and the costs will be covered under the plan that you have.

For employees of private corporations, there is the HMO or the Health Maintenance Organization. Hospitals, doctors, health insurance companies and providers who have are members of a health maintenance organization offer the services.

The advantage of HMO's over traditional employee health benefit providers is the discounted costs that they offer. Because employers pay them a fixed fee for each person that they hire, they are assured of a steady stream of patients so they can afford to offer discounted rates.

There is also the PPO or the preferred provider organization which consists of health care providers and a health insurance company who provides benefits for employees. This also results in reduced premiums because doctors and hospitals are given a constant number of clients through employees who will utilize their services.

Companies may offer any of these three health insurance coverage.

With health care costs soaring every year, it is your responsibility as an employee to ask about the health care benefits that you are entitled to.

Here are a couple of tips on how you can better understand your health insurance coverage:

1. Read your employee handbook.

A detailed description of the health insurance coverage that you will get should be indicated in the handbook.

2. When in doubt about something, go to your Human Resource Department.

This is important especially for people with medical conditions. Ask about the limitations of the health insurance coverage as well as the deductibles.

You will never know what medical emergency might come up during the time that you are employed. It is better to be prepared and know everything about the health benefits that you are entitled to, rather than asking about them when you are already lying on the hospital bed and not being able to do something about it.
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Dave Poon is an accomplished writer who specializes in
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