One of the huge advantages of landing a full-time job with a larger company is that many times they offer group health benefits. This is a term used to describe benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and heath savings plans offered to employees by employers. Typically, a company must employee more than 50 people to offer these benefits. These benefits are usually much better than individual insurance policies in many ways, including coverage, premiums, and limits on coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Group health benefits are often much more affordable than individual health insurance. This is due to the fact that often times the employee pays a portion of the premium, while the employee pays the remainder. Though the total premium and the employee portion may vary between employers and plans, it is almost always more budget friendly to be a part of a group plan. The employee typically has the options of individual coverage, employee plus spouse coverage, and family coverage. A person with a family will typically come out better cost wise choosing the family option; however, this may not be so simple if the spouse also has a group insurance option through an employer.
In this case, it can sometimes be beneficial to have coverage under both plans. Often times they will supplement each other. Some cost benefit analysis is necessary to determine if it is better to have family coverage on both plans, or carry only one plan, or some combination. This can depend on how much the employee portion of the premium is for each plan, how the plans will complement each other, and anticipated medical needs. For example, a family that has a member with a chronic illness may come out better having full coverage on both plans if they will supplement each other well. This can be determined by contacting the insurance company. Another possibility is that it may be more cost affective to the carry the children and one spouse on one plan or the other, while the remaining plan is used only for the other spouse.
Generally, group health benefits do not carry the same limits on pre-existing conditions that individual health plans do. This makes them a much better option for those who have ongoing medical issues. These can range from asthma to a history of cancer, or anything in between. An individual policy will often refuse to pay expenses related to such issues for a period of time or forever. Most group plans will not limit coverage on these illnesses.
by D. Vader