July 18, 2009
If health care wasn't tied to your job, would you quit?
If I had a buck for every time someone told me they'd ditch their job and try something new if they didn't need the health insurance, I could have retired by now.
I don't blame folks for making this choice. Buying your own health care coverage is pricy (my checking account is living proof), even if you are reasonably healthy. And for those with health concerns, children, or special-needs family members, employer-subsidized health coverage can be a financial lifesaver.
I've mentioned those who marry for health insurance before. But lately I've become fascinated with another segment of the employer-insured population: independent workers who take part-time jobs because they need the health insurance.
One freelance writer I know recently revealed that she's been working at a local grocery store for more than a decade so she and her husband can have health insurance. A high-tech contract worker I know told me that she, too, has kept a part-time retail sales job for years, all in the name of health insurance. In fact, many independent editors, designers, and project managers in this town align themselves with creative agencies who foot a decent portion of their health insurance premiums -- so long as they work for the agency a certain amount of hours each week.
With health care reform big news in the other Washington this month, I have to wonder: If a more affordable way of securing health coverage becomes available and the job market improves, how many full-time employees will try another way of working (say, self-employment) or change careers altogether? How many freelance and contract workers will ditch the part-time jobs with health insurance that they maintain on the side?
Readers, what will you do differently in your career if affordable health insurance for individuals becomes a reality?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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