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Benefit Eligibility & Cost

Will you be eligible for benefits? Is your benefits package as good as you can expect for this industry and company size?

Who is Eligible for Benefits?

Whether or not you are eligible depends on a few things:

  • Work status. Part-time employees are rarely offered benefits. In Minnesota, 53 percent of firms offer medical insurance to full-time staff. Only 12 percent offer it to part-time staff. Far fewer companies offer dental benefits to part-time workers than to full-time workers.

  • Amount of time you have worked for the company. Some parts of a benefit begin the first day of work, others after 30 days, and others after one year of employment.

  • Waiting periods. Once you are eligible, you may still not have access to the benefits. There may be a "medical waiting period." Most (73 percent) Minnesota employers use waiting periods to help control their costs.

  • Other restrictions. Some plans require you to have a medical exam before enrolling. Some disabilities or pre-existing conditions (such as cancer or heart disease) might be excluded from health care coverage.

Who Pays the Costs of Benefits?

When evaluating benefit packages, it's important to look at who pays. Find out what share of costs you will be responsible for paying. Some employers pass the entire cost on to their workers, especially those who work part-time.

Since medical insurance is often the most costly benefit, look closely at who pays.

Also, check if the employer contributes to an employee pension or retirement plan. Find out how much that "employer match" is.

Which Companies Offer the Most Generous Benefits?

Each company offers its own unique benefits package. Generally, the bigger an employer is, the more likely they are to offer benefits. This is because it is cheaper for an employer to offer a plan to a larger pool of participants.

Benefits vary widely across industries. Manufacturing, financial, education, and health services often offer more types of benefits. The leisure and hospitality sector (such as entertainment, accommodations, and food service businesses) is least likely to offer benefits.

Source: 2005 Minnesota Employee Benefits Survey, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.


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