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Overlooking insurance during your job search could cost you

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Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:36 am, Sat Jun 21, 2014.

(BPT) - An improving economy has many people entering the job market and looking for new employment opportunities. But if job seekers are not insurance-smart in their search, they may end up in worse financial shape than they were in their previous role.

Earning a higher salary is the primary goal for many job seekers, but research from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shows that many job seekers ignore the wider benefits package, not realizing that insurance benefits alone can account for nearly 10 percent of total compensation, according to research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This could be costly, as 25 percent of job switchers found out. In fact, new employees reported that insurance-related changes in their new position either slightly or greatly worsened their overall financial situation.

If you are exploring new opportunities in the job market, make sure you ask these questions.

Five tough questions to ask when changing jobs

1. Beyond salary, what are the other financial implications of making a job change?

2. What options do I have to cover medical expenses while I’m between jobs?

3. If something catastrophic happens to me between jobs, is my family protected?

4. Have I thought through all of the financial consequences of a job change that includes a long-distance move?

5. All things considered, could this be a good time to start my own business?

Asking yourself these questions will put you in a better position to research new opportunities in an informed way. Before you decide to accept a new position, make some smart insurance decisions to be sure you and your family are protected during the transition.

Five insurance-smart things to do as you change jobs

1. Find out if your new employer has a mandatory waiting period before health insurance coverage takes effect. If so, consider a short-term plan to cover the gap.

2. Conduct a line-by-line comparison of your current health plan with plans offered by your new employer to determine the right blend of deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance for your needs.

3. If you have children and your health insurance coverage is at risk of lapsing, look into government-sponsored programs, such as Children’s Health Insurance Plans (CHIP). These plans may provide coverage at little or no cost to you.

4. See if your current group life insurance plan has a conversion privilege. You may have 31 days from the day you leave your employer to submit an application.

5. 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.

Accepting a new position can be an exciting time in your professional life. By asking the right questions you can ensure your new job is even more profitable for your family than your last. For more tips, tools, videos, interactive games and downloadable apps to help you get smart about insurance during a job change or other life event such as buying a car, buying a home, getting married, becoming a parent or even turning 50, visit InsureUonline.org.

A fun video by the NAIC illustrates the importance of educating yourself on insurance during these life events.

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