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Work: Benefits Offered By Employers

Group Health Insurance

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Most people get their health insurance from their employer. Small companies may only offer one health insurance plan while larger companies tend to offer a selection of plans from which each employee may choose.

Under the federal law known as HIPAA, employees and their dependents cannot be refused coverage under an employer based group health plan because of an existing health condition, so your health will not affect whether you and your dependents will be able to enroll.

If you don't take the health insurance when it's first offered, you may be subject to a much longer waiting period before your pre-existing condition is covered.

If more than one health insurance is offered, take the time to figure out which plan is best for you. You may be able to change plans once a year during a period known as an Open Enrollment period during which no health questions are asked. Until then you're stuck with whatever choice you make. With a health condition, a year can be a very long time.

When you look at health plans:

  • Keep in mind your health condition, and the health condition of any other people who will be covered as dependents
  • Look at such critical matters as access to quality doctors and treatment
  • Look at how much you will have to pay. In most cases, the employer pays the bulk of the premium and the employee pays a part of it -- in addition to any amounts that may be due under the policy such as co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance. In some parts of the country and in some industries it is common for the employer to pay for the employee coverage and the employee pays all or a large part of any dependent coverage.

For more information, see the articles in "To Learn More."

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