Saturday, December 1, 2012

How Long Will Employer Benefits Help You?

Seattle (ESTRA) - Daily millions of Americans head off to work.  Many are in jobs they only stay in because of benefits offered.  Some are fortunate to have careers of their choosing, which in my opinion are the best. Those typically have less stress and people find they add more value to personal lives which pay a living wage.  It is energizing to be there for it allows them to use creativity.  Most Americans carry a large level of debt,  and individuals make an average of $25,000/year.  When you take away the cost of living and small attempts to keep up with the Joneses', most have no savings, and depend on the benefits offered by Employers in case of an unforeseen event that is catastrophic in nature.  However is this really true? I mean, how far does this help go? Or, the benefits from an Employer? Can you depend on their support?

First, lets go back to the issue of wages.  Most Employees are under paid. Employee wages has been decreasing for decades, therefore, giving large corporations an enormous amount of power, which they have taken and in my opinion, not earned.   A lack of respect by most, however, excluding a few, such as Costco Executives (by the way, thanks for taking the heat), brings devasting financial circumstances to workers. Gone by the wayside are a time when most Employers recognize the value of a healthy workforce, and the value that it brings to Employees, preferring to reinstate slavery in a more sophisticated manner.  One that’s not glaring to see visually but devastating to those who have to survive on their meager wages in  humiliating work environments, and painful consequences from the lack in their lives, as well as their children, spouses, siblings, or elderly parents.  
Harassment Can Be Done By Employers

This being said, now lets turn to the benefits offered. Large Private Companies typically are Self-Insured meaning they are your Employer and Insurer.  If that is not enough to scare you, I’m not sure what will. In my opinion, this creates a mentality of, “we own you”. This can create a cycle of Employees staying because they cannot afford to leave.  It’s an upper-hand that many private companies are well aware of.  Typically the benefits offered, if any, include pensions, which they make money off of, medical insurance, which some discourage you to use because they are footing the bill, life insurance which feels like a freebie to most Employers, and Short or Long-Term Disability which in my opinion, is the least prefer.

Personally, I would reconsider ones perspective on how available Employer Benefits are to middle and low wage earners.  Putting a few resources away for a raining on your own may in the future relieve a few struggles and help in the preparation of changes in your life.  
Employers  Act As Insurance Carrier
Evaluate your Employers written Benefit Policies, but also their track record for payments, especially the length of time.  Find out as soon as possible about their behavior before needing to use any of your benefits.  A corporation that is willing to pay a living wage, respect their employees, and pay out benefits when you need them, is well worth sharing your talents and contributions.  Find out how well have they treated the average employee when injured or sick. How long was the care?  Did they live up to their end of the bargain?  Again, it’s important to figure this out before, you need them.  No, this cannot be over stressed. Or, benefits may be like a spouse that disappears at the first hint of trouble, leaving you high and dry. 

For Medical Insurance, typically, the 80% is paid with frequency.  Remember, in most cases you still have to pay 20%. So, with a salary of $25,000, how far can your bills go up? This allows many Employers to hide behind the Employee’s inability to pay for expensive medical care services. If you are fortunate to have more than one Insurance Policy and have a major trauma, you may then encounter delays, denials, or harassment tactics.  When of course, unable to defend yourself easily.  So how long does this go on? Ask a many cancer patients.  Longer than imagineable.

Still Do Not Be Intimidated By Harassment
Life Insurance to many Employers is like the Casino, they rarely have to pay out on it, but are allow to keep the premiums.  Since many of these companies are self-insured, it's their  decision which ones they will pay out on, and which ones they will fight. Thus, taking up to ten years.  In many cases, and this is true with other benefits too.  How many people making $25,000 year can afford that?  And yes, they know this too.

Short & Long-Term Disability Insurance in my opinion, is the worse nightmare of them all.  Here, many people believe they have a safety net between their policy at work, and Social Security Disability Insurance.  But have you read the fine print in your Benefit Packet? From my perspective, at reading, you would shutter with fear and trembling.   Short-Term Disability last up to three months typically, and if that’s all that required, you    typically will be O.K.  Most Employers pay out benefits at this level, and see it as just another investment in their workers.  But, what if it goes on? When cost begins to rise? Then, there are several tactics applied, none of them in your best of interest.  If you are expecting to receive benefits beyond the second year, you may want to rethink it.  Your Employer gets almost completely out of paying their fair share.  You are typically dropped down into poverty, a meager way of life dropping further than imagined.
Not Unsual To Have Parking Hassles

What can you do? From my perspective,  realize, unfortunately, most Employers see you as the slave to pimp off your labor, run you into the ground physically, emotionally, and financially, then drop you like your hot.

If they carried a respectful point of view, in my opinion, they would do the right things. The Companies that do, hopefully in the next decades are the ones who move us back into the right direction.  There is a lot of talent in people going to waste.  A new leadership of Company Executives is needed.  Ones who have not forgot where they came from and want to add value not only to the lives of their families and friends, but the global world we now live in.  Where a greed addiction no longer dictates their way of life, or actions toward others, especially their Employees and their Benefits.

Again, this is why I personally believe in a Single Payer System.  It takes greed out the equation, and puts care first for all citizens.  Do you think 20% overhead cost is better than 4%? In this country, most Single Payer Systems are efficient and have lower overhead that is less than 4%.  Yet those Bonuses you keep hearing about and great Benefit Packages to the 1%, well that’s the 20% overhead.  When given a choice, choose care for all people.

Thanks for visiting.   
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