20 pills a day x $5 per pill = Living with your parents forever.
February 7, 2008 2:20 PM   Subscribe

When Health Insurance is the most important factor in a job search, how so you look for a new job?

My girlfriend has a chronic illness that requires lots of expensive pills. The job at which she works now has decided to start having crappy health insurance which means she'll have to start paying for her pills herself. She cant afford to do this. And she cannot get off the medication.

She isnt particularly attached to her job so... my question is, What is the best way to search for a new job (office/clerical work) when HEALTH BENEFITS are the most important factor? More important even than actual wages or type of work.

Maybe a longshot but is there a way to search for jobs online using type of health insurance as a search criterion?

How forthcoming are companies about the extent of their health benefits to people interested in being hired? This is in the SF Bay Area. Thanks!
posted by ElmerFishpaw to Work & Money (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Why is this more important than better wages? Couldn't she buy the pills with the additional money?

Companies tend to be pretty forthcoming about why you want to work for them! That's why they give out benefits in the first place. If she asks they will almost certainly be happy to tell her all about the benefits.
posted by aubilenon at 2:25 PM on February 7, 2008

She could look for a job with employers that are known for having great health benefits. The U.S. Government, for example, tends to have relatively good health benefits.
posted by The World Famous at 2:31 PM on February 7, 2008

i doubt you can search on the type of benefits, but when you score an interview, you can definitely ask for specific details about coverage. however, they probably won't have a list on hand of the formulary and cost of specific drugs....
posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:40 PM on February 7, 2008

Look for a job at a college or university. They usually have great health benefits and they often start day 1. Should be on their website. The bay area is a great place for employment in higher ed, too.
posted by miss tea at 2:43 PM on February 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

In my line of work, I have in the past attempted to look up even basic health insurance benefits info (such as, who they are using as carriers) by searching company websites. What I found was that they don't give that info out. But as was mentioned above, certain employers are known to have good coverage. The Federal government does have a good one (they cover thrugh the Federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield program) . Government entities in general tend to have good health benefits. Large companies tend to have decent plans, more so than smaller companies who get less of a group plan discount because they don't have as many employees.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 2:46 PM on February 7, 2008

I second college or university. But remember: She is your GIRLFRIEND, meaning that she will probably not be listed on your health insurance unless you can qualify her. Also, even if you found a job with excellent health benefits, she would still have to wait 12-18 months to qualify for pre-existing conditions.
posted by parmanparman at 2:51 PM on February 7, 2008

Oh, the job is for her. Never mind, but the pre-existing part would definitely apply.
posted by parmanparman at 2:52 PM on February 7, 2008

The problem, as you've discovered, is that any company can change their benefits at any time (or practically, once a year). In addition to this, insurance companies can change their benefits and a formally covered drug can be placed on their non-covered drug list. This puts you in something of a pickle.

I see lots of cases like these. The sad reality is that the only people I've really seen HR go to bat for are executives, and the only time they're successful is when it's a larger self-insured company and they can cut the check. I realize that offering the advice "Become an executive at a large corporation" is worse than worthless.

I think what you have to do is a lot of research. Most companies use their insurance companies' PBMs non-covered drug lists without making any changes at all. Often they can't make any changes. You can often get the list of non-covered drug on the insurer's web-site. That's a first step. If it were me, I'd want to know everything I could before going into an interview so I could ask the correct picky questions.
posted by MarkAnd at 2:55 PM on February 7, 2008

And by formally, I mean formerly!
posted by MarkAnd at 2:55 PM on February 7, 2008

Pre-existing limitations are not really a given. if she can provide proof of credible coverage (as in, a letter from a previous health insurance certifying that she was covered within a certain period of time), waiting periods can be waived. Some insurances require that you have been covered within the last X number of days (60 or 90, for example).
posted by DrGirlfriend at 2:55 PM on February 7, 2008

Best answer: Here's this year's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For -- and here are the organizations ranked specifically as having the very best health plans.
posted by scody at 2:56 PM on February 7, 2008 [4 favorites]

She can target health insurance companies and health care providers. Those companies usually have exceptional health insurance benefits.
posted by 26.2 at 3:31 PM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

YMMV, but I had 8 years of the opposite of the experience primalux has. This was with health insurers and one practice. Mediocre at best to damn near non-existent.

My insurance now that I'm out of that field is very, very good.
posted by dilettante at 5:25 PM on February 7, 2008

When I was looking for a job I found that the temp agency I was working through was able to give me good information about the company, including what health benefits they offered. So maybe a third party like an employment agency can help? (Also, I ended up at an insurance company that had great benefits. It wasn't even a health insurance company!)
posted by Bella Sebastian at 8:38 PM on February 7, 2008

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