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Understanding Company Benefits

Jan 13, 2008
You should never select a job that is solely based on benefits offered by a company, as these benefits can change at any time because there are no laws binding companies to maintain a certain level of benefits. Companies sometimes change insurance providers and that can cause changes in the benefits.

With regards to insurance benefits, the first thing you need to ask about is how much of the insurance plan is paid by the employer and how much of it you have to bear. Some employers are quite generous and pay up to 90%, but remember that it is likely to change, so check on the plan. The next thing to ask would be about premium costs, before and after taxes. You should also find out if the insurance plan allows you to pay the premiums with pre-tax dollars.

What You Need To Analyze

-Assume that a company PQY pays 50% of the $250 monthly premium for a good health insurance plan. Another company, XYZ, has the same insurance plan, where you have to pay the whole premium. That means you pay $1,500 per year more with XYZ Corp than with PQY corp. This means that the PQY Corp has a plan that permits you to pay your premium share with the pre-tax dollars, while XYZ Corp makes you pay your premium with after tax-dollars.

When It Comes To Actual Plan Then There Are Basically Three Kinds Of Medical Plans:

1. Compensation plan: With this plan, you pay a deductible amount of about $100/250/500 in a year. This plan permits you to visit any doctor and the plan pays 80% of the charges, with the rest borne by you. This type of plan is not very prevalent, as it cannot be managed well and does not favor either employers or insurance companies.

2. Preferred Provider Organization or Point of Service: This plan identifies certain doctors that are in the "network" and you are permitted to choose from this network. When you choose these doctors, you are asked to pay a fixed co-payment amount. In most PPO and POS plans, if you select a doctor outside the network, then you need not pay a co-payment. Instead, you may pay a deductible amount of $250/500/1,000. In addition, you also pay around 20% or 30% of the bill.
3. Health Maintenance Organization: In this plan you are permitted to use hospitals and doctors in the "network" - and you reimbursed a lesser amount if you access providers outside the plan. This plan is the least expensive (in terms of co-payments) and also the least flexible.

Employees generally have several plans to choose from, based on the services and price. The best solution is to contact your personal doctor and ask him which plan he participates in and then choose that particular plan.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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