Job Seekers Beware:
As the economy improves, many Americans are voluntarily leaving a familiar 9-to-5 for the promise of financially greener pastures. In fact, 40 percent of respondents to a 2014 NAIC survey cited "improve my financial situation" as a key influence on their decision to quit a job, second only to "reduce stress," at 51 percent. But as many new hires soon learn, it pays to consider more than salary when evaluating that enticing financial offer.
According to the survey, 43 percent of respondents said when considering the financial implications of a job change, they spent "significant time" thinking about salary. However, only 20 percent spent as much time on insurance benefits, and only 16 percent thought as much about insurance out-of-pocket costs during their job change assessment.
The survey further highlights how not paying attention to insurance implications can be costly. Nearly 25 percent of respondents said after making a job move, changes in insurance benefits and out-of-pocket costs either "slightly or greatly worsened" their overall financial situation.
To avoid surprises, consider the following before saying goodbye to a current employer:
- See if your current group life insurance plan has a conversion privilege. If so, you may have up to 31 days after leaving your job to apply for coverage.
- Find out if you can convert current group disability coverage into a portable disability plan that stays with you from job to job.
- If your job change includes a move, check your homeowners' policy to make sure personal possessions are covered in-transit. If not, consider a trip transit or floater policy.
- Insurance rates and coverage vary greatly from state to state. Before a move across state lines, contact your state insurance department so you know what to expect.
- Before accepting a new job, compare your current health plan with plans offered to assure the available mix of deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance will cost-effectively meet your needs.
- Find out if your new employer has a mandatory waiting period before health insurance coverage takes effect. If so, consider a short-term plan through new health insurance exchanges to cover the gap. More than 10% of NAIC survey respondents said their overall financial situation was worsened by issues related to "the effective date of new health insurance coverage."
- If you have children and anticipate a coverage gap, you may also look into government-sponsored programs such as Children’s Health Insurance Plans (CHIP). These plans may provide coverage at low or no cost.
- Finally, if you're thinking of starting your own business and plan to use your personal car to make deliveries or visit clients, consider business auto coverage. If you’re involved in an accident while conducting these tasks, most personal auto policies won’t cover the losses.
Source: Online survey via Research Now consumer panel fielded February 2014. 251 respondents age 18+ who left a job voluntarily within the past five years.