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TheStreet Open House

Top 5 Benefits to Look for in Today's Job Market

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- A comprehensive benefits package can turn a good job into a great one, but with a changing health care landscape and complex retirement picture, how do you know what your benefits bundle should look like?

Although any job with a steady paycheck may look temping, experts say you should do plenty of research before you sign on the dotted line, because not all benefits are created equal. Check out our rundown on the top five you should look for at your next job and why they matter.

1. Health care

"There is a lot of confusion around health care benefits because of the new laws," says Uva Coles, vice president, student services for Peirce College in Philadelphia. "People are confused about what it means for them and unsure what their health care package should look like."

While there's no doubt the health care market is changing, it continues to be the biggest benefit to employees -- from both an overall wellness and a cost savings perspective, says Mary Jo Davis, vice president of benefits at Ceridian, a human capital management company.

"With health care reform and the 'coming soon' of health care marketplaces, the way employees will access and purchase insurance is going to be quite different," Davis says. "But even so, most employees will continue to access health care through their employer."

In the coming years, small and large employers will have different options for health care than they do today, Davis explains, but companies know that the better the benefits offered, the happier the employee. There is a strong correlation between overall satisfaction of benefits packages and employee loyalty, she says. The majority of employees who say they are "very satisfied" with their benefits -- 61% -- also have a strong sense of loyalty to their employer, according to a Metlife (MET) employee benefits trend study last year.

2. Retirement

"When Social Security was conceived, life expectancy after 65 was only an additional five years, but today people are living well into their 90s," Davis says. "People know that investments are important for what their life looks like in the 10, 15 or 30 years after retirement."

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