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W*rking part-time to get health benefits
Old 02-26-2010, 07:42 AM   #1
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W*rking part-time to get health benefits

As others have said in earlier threads, health insurance, when you have to get it on your own, is a major consideration before RE. As the economy recovers, and at the same time my j*b gets more difficult, I am increasingly thinking of other options.

A new thought is w*rking part-time to get benefits. I have read that places like Starbuck's and Whole Foods provide this, even if there is some level of matching employee contributions. Getting good benefits would make a real difference, and I could see how w*rking 20 hours per week, at something with little mental pressure, yet hopefully providing some camaraderie and structure, could actually be pleasant. I could even put some of the part-time earnings into a Roth IRA and build up that bucket.

Has anyone tried this?
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:40 AM   #2
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Two of my part-time/seasonal jobs offer health insurance. Both plans are similar in price and benefits. To me it's worthless. The cost is affordable but the coverage is limited to $5000 or $10,000 a year. That could easily be used up by any surgery or the first few days of a hospital stay.

Here's a few of the benefit limits -
Diagnostic, surgical and other outpatient services and supplies - $400 or 5 visits (whichever comes first)
Emergency room - $1,000
Inpatient charges - $10,000
Prescriptions - $500

This type of plan may be appropriate for some, but for a lot of people they need insurance that covers a catastrophic medical expense, not a few office visits.

In the plan I was offered the employee pays the full cost, this one is
Single - $178/month
Single +1 - $446
Family - $625
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:45 AM   #3
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I suppose it depends on the employer. Chatting with the paint-mixing lady at Home Depot a few years ago, she was happy to have a 20-hour-a-week job that provided medical benefits for her and her daughter. She didn't comment on the limits but implied they were the same as for full-time people.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:30 AM   #4
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I have a friend who works 20 hrs per week providing services for medical people. Her DH had been self-employed and their health insurance rates kept climbing. She left a job where she had worked 15 plus years,that she was very happy with, that did not provide health ins to part-time (all she wants to work) people and went to work for this company instead. She has worked there 5-7 yrs now and seems happy with the ins. Her and her DH seem to use it quite a bit.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:10 AM   #5
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That has always been my long term plan, take ESR and work PT just to keep medical benefits. I could work two 10 hr shifts at the beginning of the work week and two at the end of the next work week and have 10 days to myself in between. The problem is that it is still work, maybe when I am ready to ESR the company won't need any PT people in my position, I won't be able to get the above schedule, the required minimum hours might increase, who knows?
At that point, I won't have the freedom to leave when I want, I will be dependent on the 'company' to get my benefits. What I anticipate is that the PT hours to get benefits will increase toward almost FT hours.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:19 AM   #6
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Firewhen, it's a good idea in theory----but I have read several times online where people who work or used to work for Starbucks said it was close to impossible to get the 20 hours. Managers are evaluated and bonused on keeping costs down, so they have the incentive to make sure that employees don't get the 20+ hours and don't get benefits.

Hours kept low to avoid healh-care qualification? | Working at Starbucks | Public Forums | Forums | Starbucks Union

Starbucks cutting hours in order not to pay benefits « I Hate Starbucks

Some of this online is info is over two years old. It would be nice to think that things have changed for the better, but kind of difficult to think it has, especially in this economy and with SB hurting.
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:27 PM   #7
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I'd certainly consider it if it were real insurance. I don't need a plan that is going to hit an early maximum and leave me exposed for the rest. So it would really depend on how good the coverage was.
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:30 PM   #8
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I suspect the days of *anyone* providing health insurance for less than full time work are very nearly over. Another deal gets worse in private sector employment....
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:59 PM   #9
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DW turned a volunteer position in the kids school into a PT job with bennies. A position freed up when someone took a medical leave. Position might disapear next year if the person can return ... but it's been nice not paying 1k/mo. We went from "pinto" to "cadilac" bennies.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue J View Post
Two of my part-time/seasonal jobs offer health insurance. Both plans are similar in price and benefits. To me it's worthless. The cost is affordable but the coverage is limited to $5000 or $10,000 a year. That could easily be used up by any surgery or the first few days of a hospital stay.

Here's a few of the benefit limits -
Diagnostic, surgical and other outpatient services and supplies - $400 or 5 visits (whichever comes first)
Emergency room - $1,000
Inpatient charges - $10,000
Prescriptions - $500

This type of plan may be appropriate for some, but for a lot of people they need insurance that covers a catastrophic medical expense, not a few office visits.

In the plan I was offered the employee pays the full cost, this one is
Single - $178/month
Single +1 - $446
Family - $625
This is not health insurance, it's a garbage limited benefit plan that is way, way overpriced. I would run away from this as fast as I could.

Whole Foods is probably the best company to work for offering part time benefits, since their benefits are actually good. I would take a hard look at what is being offered before signing up for something.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dgoldenz View Post
This is not health insurance, it's a garbage limited benefit plan...
It is, in fact, the very opposite of what insurance should be.

True "insurance" includes an affordable self-insurance component and a catastrophic coverage component to help avoid huge and ruinous expenses.

This does the opposite: insures only first few thousand and you're on your own in the catastrophic case.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 03-04-2010, 11:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
It is, in fact, the very opposite of what insurance should be.

True "insurance" includes an affordable self-insurance component and a catastrophic coverage component to help avoid huge and ruinous expenses.

This does the opposite: insures only first few thousand and you're on your own in the catastrophic case.
Exactly, and these are the types of plans that should be required to have a gigantic, bolded "THIS IS NOT HEALTH INSURANCE" disclaimer on the first page of the policy. As of now, it's probably in the small print somewhere between the first and 78th pages. Ticks me off when I talk to someone about major medical and then they think they know more than I do and go buy one of these garbage plans thinking they are saving a bunch of money. You would blow through the plan limits in a single visit with that thing. $625/month for that crap?
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:38 PM   #13
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Work part-time for UPS. Most common part-time shifts are preload (4-8am) and local sort (5-9pm). Guarantee is 3.5 hrs/day, benefits after 6 mos of employment. Benefits include paid vacation, pension ($2,000/mo after 30 yrs) and health and welfare - same as full-time.

I'm full-time and I'll try to recap off the top of my head. Insurance costs zero and includes your family. 80/20 medical, 100% hospitalization with a $50 co-pay for an emergency room visit. Dentist is 90/10. Orthodontics $2,500? max, Periodontist - generous, dentures $5,500 every 5 yrs I think. Prescription lens are free. Generic prescription drugs are free, name brand $5 from pharmacy of your choosing. There are also death benefits but I don't know what they are.

I won't lie - you will work like a dog for those benefits and your spouse calling in to say that you have died is the only acceptable reason to miss work. We have stay at home moms, realtors, farmers, cab-drivers, a guy with 7 children lol, just to name a few who work part time in the mornings. Mainly college boys work the twilight.

You can apply online - be persistant because sometimes it's all about timing.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:29 PM   #14
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Those UPS benefits sound pretty solid. Hard to beat that.
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:40 PM   #15
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I had read about UPS. Thanks for the info on Starbucks tangomonster.
We will need family medical insurance for years. Having access to affordable insurance, even through part-time, would make a world of a difference. ESR with benes versus ER without, might be a good compromise. Though starting a shift at 4AM (probably means getting up at 3AM) is daunting as well. Guess nothing is easy with this!
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:48 AM   #16
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From every angle it looks bad. Retirees going back to work?! Plans that no one likes, including the doctors, increasing premiums and deductables, with plunging benefits - yuck! I keep my ancient S Corp alive (thats a part time job in itself) so DW and I can qualify for group health insurance. Can't live with it, can't live without it.
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:22 AM   #17
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When I switched from F/T to P/T work back in 2001, I remained eligible for my company's Group Health plan but had to pay 50% of the premiums instead of 25%. This was as long as I worked at least 20 hours per week. I was telecommuting for most of the 20 hours per week, as I could not stand the awful commute from Long Island to Jersey City, New Jersey.

But in 2003, the telecommuting ended, as the company stopped it on an open-ended basis. I could still work 20 hours per week but had to make 3 weekly trips to fulfill my hours.

After nearly 4 years of that, I switched to 2 days a week (12 hours) in 2007. This made me ineligible to remain in the Group Health Plan even though I offered to pay 100% of the premiums. I thought this would be a no-brainer for the HR folks but they turned my offer down, claiming that I was now lumped in with some high-cost, near-Medicare-aged folks who worked less than 20 hours per week (even though I was only 44 at the time). I protested vehemently to no avail. [They offer subsidized health insurance to some retirees and to spouses and children of covered employees, all of whom do not work for the company, but can't offer me coverage even though I still worked for them.]

To keep the equivalent of being in the Group Health plan for a while, I went on COBRA for 18 months before giving up and retiring in November, 2008. In my lengthy exit interview, I told the HR rep that after the lousy commute as my main reason for leaving, it was their stupid Goup Health eligibility rules which helped drive me away.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:31 PM   #18
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I worked at UPS part time when I was going to college (many moons ago) and it can be very physically demanding work, the new guy gets the worst job by default. Not at all what I envision for my retirement years.
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