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Health Care
Healthy Lifestyle
Personal Finance
Your Financial Life
By Transamerica / Jun 17, 2015

10 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Employee Benefits


Many employers offer robust benefits to their employees, such as health insurance. When signing up for insurance with an employer, knowing what voluntary benefits you need, such as life insurance or supplemental health insurance, in addition to a major medical policy can be confusing.

Ask yourself the following ten questions before making any decisions about your employer’s benefits:

1.  What’s your share of medical costs under your health insurance? With insurance deductibles and copays on the rise, an important part of financial planning is understanding what you would have to pay in the event of a costly medical event.

2. Would your savings be able to cover out-of-pocket costs? An out-of-pocket medical expense policy designed to complement your employer’s health insurance can provide a great way to pay some expenses your medical insurance wouldn’t cover.

3. Do you want to use your savings for those costs? Even if you have money saved for out-of-pocket expenses, often the costs of insurance can be far less than what you would pay in a medical emergency. And wouldn’t you rather use your savings for that retirement RV trip or the vacation you’d planned for next year?

4. How would you make up for lost income if you became disabled? If you can’t work due to certain illnesses or injuries, short-term disability replaces a portion of your income for specified time periods, helping you make that rent or car payment that keeps you in the home where you’ve planted all those flowers and the car with the number of seats you need to get everyone to softball practice.

5. How’s your current health? If you’ve had problems with your health in the past, you could be predisposed to other problems and recurrences of similar issues. Health-related voluntary benefits, like hospital indemnity or critical illness insurance, can help protect your finances if that happens. A prescription drug discount card can help save you money.

6. What are your health habits? It’s not fun thinking about health risk factors like smoking, enjoying bacon or preferring TV marathons to any form of running. Whether or not you’re ready to make changes today, if you know you might be more likely to need medical treatment based on your habits, it makes sense to get a policy, like hospital indemnity insurance, that pays benefits for hospital stays.

7. Do you need visual aids or routine dental care? Vision and dental insurance can be a great deal that make getting your retro-chic cat-eye glasses or teeth cleanings a snap. Consider what you’d spend without the policy and balance it against the price of your premiums.

8. How old are you? This question isn’t just to gauge your likelihood of developing an age-related disease, but can affect the costs of your premiums. Some types of insurance are more competitively priced at a younger age. Take a look at your employers’ rates—they may be lower than you think. If you’re older and know your risks are higher, insurance could be a bargain compared to what you’d pay if you end up needing it but don’t have it.

9. What’s your family medical history? Take a look at how many family members could have used a cancer policy, for example, in the last few years and consider how it might help you if you’ve inherited certain family illnesses with your dad’s interesting nose and your mom’s loud laugh.

10. Do you have enough life insurance? It’s no fun thinking about what your family would do without you. Get peace of mind for the unthinkable by purchasing life insurance.

Asking these questions can give you a clearer picture of your insurance needs so you can select the necessary policies to help protect yourself from life’s curveballs.

Learn more about Transamerica’s Employee Benefits.