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I have been working at my current job for 2 months. I am doing well (based on feedback from managers, the C.E.O.) in this 50-ish person consulting firm.
I recently became eligible to enroll in the medical, vision and dental benefits. They will be about $600/month to cover all members of my 4 person family. My last job had free insurance (albeit poor coverage, it was still free).
When I started working at my current job I only gained $2k more per year. When the medical kicks in I will be making LESS than I was at my last job. I am the only one working in my household at the moment and we are a young family with a new baby. We are on a tight budget. I cannot afford to make LESS money than I was a few months ago (by a significant amount).
I am debating on if I should bring up the situation to my employer and ultimately ask for a raise to cover the cost of the medical benefits. They normally CONSIDER raises once/year and that is in june/july. I dont want to have to walk away from this job because besides the current problem it is one of the best places I have worked.

closed as off-topic by Jim G., gnat, Jan Doggen, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Garrison Neely Oct 9 '14 at 14:23

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  • 5
    Is this coming as a surprise to you now? Normally, before accepting a job, you'd know the salary and the benefits. It sounds like you're now saying that the salary and benefits you agreed to just 2 months ago are no longer acceptable. That would be a difficult message to convey to an employer unless something substantial changed (i.e. medical benefits were free when you signed on but the policy changed between then and when you became eligible). – Justin Cave Oct 7 '14 at 23:08
  • So you had no out of pocket expenses with the previous crummy insurance? Or, if you did, will they be less now? That needs to be part of your equation. – thursdaysgeek Oct 7 '14 at 23:08
  • I knew the salary, and the benefits were explained to me as 'good benefits for the employee and dependents' and that I am covered 100%. I did drop the ball in asking how much the benefits would cost me altogether. And the out of pocket for the last place was very high. It was like $6000 OOP before insurance kicked in per person. – Ju66ernaut Oct 7 '14 at 23:09
  • All employers claim to have good and/or 'competitive' benefits. ALWAYS ask to see the benefits information when you're made an offer. – James Adam Oct 8 '14 at 13:27
  • The company may offer several tiers of insurance coverage, which at lower levels may be mostly or completely covered by their contribution (but which, obviously, would cover less than the one you've been looking at). Start by asking about that; it may be what you're looking for. (My employer has plans from deluxe to normal to high-deductable; the normal is completely covered by the benefits package, the deluxe requires a payroll deduction, and the high-deductable actually winds up with them making a contribution toward your HSA.) – keshlam Oct 8 '14 at 18:30
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Well, this is a tricky situation, no doubt about it.

The fact that you believe you're doing well with the company is a plus. Doing good work and being well-liked at the company you're employed with is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to asking for additional compensation. However, I'm not entirely sure that I would ask for a raise. Here's why:

Raises are generally an employer's tool for rewarding outstanding work, time spent at the company, promotions, etc. From what you've said, it sounds like they have an allocated period for giving out raises and promotions. While you are doing well at the company, you are not asking for a (seemingly early) raise based on merit. Instead, you are really asking for some financial assistance to help out with medical costs. So, I'm not sure that a raise is a appropriate way to ask for this assistance.

First, I would find out if the company has any way of helping you out, in your current situation, without giving you a merit-based incentive. Maybe your company can offer you another way of helping to mitigate these added costs. The fact is, you'll never know until you ask. See if there is any kind of assistance program, or if the company can offer you different coverage options or additional offset compensation for medical expenses.

Next, be prepared for the answer you don't want to hear. I truly hope your company has some way of helping you out. If they don't, heck, they might even offer you a raise as their way of giving you some assistance. But if they don't, be prepared for that answer. I obviously have no way of knowing the atmosphere at your company, but the could just as easily tell you that you should have been aware of the HR benefits plan and compensation when you accepted the position.

Lastly, if the company has no options for helping you out, or has no intent of helping mitigate your costs, then you are basically left with two options:

  1. Hold out until promotion/raise time and hope that they compensate you accordingly.
  2. Start looking for a position with another company that can compensate you accordingly

No matter what the outcome, I wouldn't be shy about bringing it up to your employer. They have no way of knowing about your particular problem/struggle until you inform them of it. Be sure and mention that you are dedicated to the company and that despite your current situation, you do not want to leave. The worst they can do is say "no", in which case you're no worse off than you were before.

Just my two cents. I hope everything works out for you! Let me know if you have any more questions.

Good luck!

  • The option of some kind of assistance never crossed my mind. That is definitely something I am going to ask for instead of just 'a raise'. I acknowledge I should have done a better job of making sure all my ducks were in a row with fully understanding the benefits cost. Thanks. – Ju66ernaut Oct 7 '14 at 23:25
  • Note that in the US your ability to change coverage options only occurs during open season or soon after a life event (new baby, marriage, job loss, ...) – mhoran_psprep Oct 8 '14 at 12:01
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I am debating on if I should bring up the situation to my employer and ultimately ask for a raise to cover the cost of the medical benefits. They normally CONSIDER raises once/year and that is in june/july.

You can always ask.

Be prepared to explain how you didn't realize that you had to pay for medical benefits. Clearly this will make you look a bit foolish, but so be it - if this is important for your family, you don't have much choice.

Be prepared to ask for whatever you would like the company to do. Have in mind a number that would financially allow you to stay with the company. And don't get greedy - only ask for what you truly need (sometimes we need to make tough choices, you might opt to skip vision and dental coverage until you are in a better position financially).

It's possible the company will give you a raise, offer to pay for some of your benefits for a while, give you an advance on next July's raise, or come to some other accommodation for you. Of course it's also possible that the company will not do anything.

I dont want to have to walk away from this job because besides the current problem it is one of the best places I have worked.

If you truly feel that your only other option is to walk away from this job, don't do so until you have landed your next job first. And this time, make sure you completely understand all the financial aspects of the new job - how much you will be paid, if you get any bonus, what benefits are available, and which benefits you must pay for.

At least in my part of the world, it would be very rare to have fully-company-paid health insurance in the private sector. Don't assume any of the benefits you want will be free. HR will virtually always be willing to share the details of the benefits package with you at some point during the interview process. Make sure you ask.

If you are in a part of the world where fully-company-funded healthcare is rare, hopefully, you'll be able to land a position paying more than the $2K raise you got when accepting the job at your current company.

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