Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Every Employee Should Know About Company Benefits

As a new employee, one of the things you will have to decide is whether or not to implement certain company benefits. Whether you are working for cutting edge companies like Melaleuca, or even a small local business, you need to be educated. To help, below is an overview of some things every employee should know about their company benefits.

Choosing Between an HMO and a PPO

Generally, when you apply for health insurance, you’ll be given two choices. One will be a plan from a health maintenance organization or HMO. The other will be a preferred provider option or PPO. HMOs are generally less expensive than PPOs. However, you will not have the option of choosing your own doctors under an HMO.

Life Insurance and Disability Insurance

These are two options that may also be available as part of your company benefits. Life insurance is usually designed to help your family in the case of your untimely death by paying for things like the funeral and burial. Disability insurance is supposed to help a worker pay for living expenses if he or she becomes disabled after an injury. However, many of these plans have deceptively low coverage. Make sure to read the specifics first before signing up.

Retirement Plans

Many businesses offer plans to help you save for retirement. How different plans work can be quite technical. Common plans offered include 401k plans, TSP plans, 457b plans, and 403b plans. Make sure to do plenty reading up on technical aspects of the plans being offered before you make a decision. You should also learn how much your company will match the funds you pay into different plans.

Dental and Vision Insurance

Dental and vision insurance may also be offered in addition to a standard healthcare plan. Not everyone should sign up for such plans. Vision and even dental problems are sometimes genetic in nature. Not everyone suffers from the same issues. However, dental and vision procedures can also be ridiculously expensive. Dental problems, for example, slowly develop over time. While it may seem like you don’t have problems with your teeth now, it could be different in five years. Make sure you know your overall willingness and ability to spend in these programs.

Stock Options

Lastly, you may be given the choice to receive stock options. In certain cases, employees have become millionaires thanks to stock options that paid off. In other cases, they lost all value. Research the possibility for growth by your company before buying into a stock option program. You can even connect with companies through linkedin to find out more about the best stocks to invest in now.

Overall, you need to be educated on what your company is offering. Some options may greatly improve your life in the future. Others may be completely useless to you. It all depends on where you are in your own life. Take time to consider your future as you sign up for company benefits this year.

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