Health Insurance and Retirement Benefits

Health insurance and retirement benefits are two of the most popular employer-provided benefits programs. Recent statistics show that about two-thirds of private industry employees have access to each of these  types of benefits. But the particular plans provided -- and how much employees and employers pay  for them -- varies greatly.

For health insurance, for example, employees pay, on average, 20% of the premium for their own coverage (the percentage is higher for employees who also cover a spouse or other family members). But most employers aren't legally required to pay  a particular portion of the cost  of coverage -- or even to provide health insurance benefits at all -- at least until  the 2010 health care reform law fully goes into effect.  

There's also a wide variety in the types of retirement plans available. 401(k) plans are perhaps the most popular, but even among employers who provide 401(k) plans, the details vary. For example, some employers match employee contributions, at least up to a certain amount; others don't. Employers may make different investment options available or adopt different rules on early withdrawals and rollovers.

The articles in this section provide some basic information on health insurance and retirement plans. To find out the rules for your particular plans, you'll have to look at the plan documents and/or talk to your plan administrator.

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