When it comes to having health insurance, FINS readers don't seem to care.
U.S. Census figures indicate that 16.3% of Americans aren't covered by any health plan. Our informal Sign or Decline survey suggests far more than that are willing to forgo it. Asked if they would take their dream job if it didn't come with health insurance, 48% of 742 respondents said they would.
In these days of belt-tightening, it's not uncommon to be offered a job without health benefits. According to a 2011 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 60% of American companies provide some kind of health insurance benefits for their employees; the smaller the firm, the less likely employers are to provide care. According to the 2010 Census, 55.3% of workers were covered by an employment-based health plan, while those covered by government-sponsored and direct-purchase insurance plans have climbed year-over-year.
Making the decision to forgo health benefits shouldn't be made lightly. Situations vary, but several factors should be weighed before taking a job that doesn't provide benefits, says Joseph Torella, Northeast president and national practice leader of employee benefits for HUB International, a North American insurance brokerage.
If you're covered by a spouse's plan or are young enough to fall under the umbrella of a parent's insurance plan, not getting insurance from your employer isn't as much of a concern. Younger members in particular would probably be more likely to do so, says Torella.
"People younger and healthier tend not to think the same way that people who have been in the workforce longer and have families do," says Torella. "Someone who is 21 or 25 might want a room with a view or higher pay, versus someone who is at a different point in their life."
The promise of insurance for all under the Obama health care law may contribute to the surprising FINS survey results. "People may be thinking that because of health care reform, the law provides some level of protection that they don't need from their employer," says Torella. However, the health care act can't necessarily be relied on; it faces significant legal challenges.
Many Americans are unaware of how much buying into their own health insurance plan can cost. "Health care costs are expected to continue to rise, and the affordability factor for the average employee is something they may not be aware of," says Torella. Premiums in the private market can run to $9,000 a year for individuals and $15,000 a year for families.
The absence of a health care plan doesn't need to be a deal breaker in accepting a job. In the current economic climate, those without work may have opt to take such a job if they don't have health insurance anyway. "If insurance is something they are giving up when accepting a job," says Torella, "that might be different."
What Would You Do?
Answer the question and see how you match up with the rest of the FINS community.
You've just been offered your dream job, but... you don't get health insurance.
Write to Kelly Eggers
Sign or Decline is a series of questions on FINS.com that ask what you would do for your dream job. Since its launch late last year, over 100,000 answers have been received and compiled in our database. Participate in Sign or Decline here.