enrollmentIt’s that time again! Open enrollment is looming. And, before you mindlessly sign up for the same old options you’ve chosen in years past, there are a few things you need to consider.

Here are some tips to help you make sure you’re choosing the best coverages for your health (and that of your family members), as well as your wallet.


Step One: Review Your Health Coverage Offerings

Choosing your health care coverage is understandably one of the biggest decisions you’ll be making during this year’s open enrollment. It’s also one of the most complicated because it depends on so many different factors like how often you go to the doctor, whether you take any prescription medications, how many dependents you have, and how much you’ll end up paying out-of-pocket.

To help you choose, take inventory of what all you paid out of pocket the previous year, including copays, deductibles, medications, and any non-covered services. Considering these expenses is just as important as comparing merely the monthly premium. We have a number of tools that can help you weigh these costs, so contact us if we can help!

Before finalizing your decision, you should also make sure that any providers, specialists, or hospitals you prefer are covered by your chosen network.

Step Two: Consider Dental and Vision Insurance

With your primary health coverage out of the way, your next step should be reviewing any other supplemental coverages your employer offers, such as dental and vision. For vision, determine if it’s a vision benefits plan (which works like traditional insurance) or a vision discount plan, which only offers discounted services from participating practitioners.

With dental, ask yourself if you only need coverage for routine cleanings or whether you anticipate any major dental work or oral surgery in the coming year. Your answers will help you determine the level of coverage you need.

Step Three: Decide if You Want an FSA or HSA

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are great ways to help offset some of your out-of-pocket medical costs, as they offer some signifiant tax advantages. Both allow you to save money pretax to cover eligible expenses. FSAs are owned by your employer, and any funds not used by the end of the year could be forfeited (unless your employer offers a rollover).

HSAs on the other hand can be rolled over, and the money in them can be invested. However, they’re only allowed for individuals who have a high-deductible health plan. There are also limits on how much you can contribute annually.



Step Four: Review Your Retirement Contributions

Open enrollment is a great time to assess how your savings are doing and determine whether you need to change your contributions for the coming year. If your employer offers a 401(k) match, see if you’re contributing the maximum amount they’ll match. Too many employees leave those potential retirement dollars on the table each year.

Think about whether the amount you’re saving will be adequate for what you’ll need in retirement. This is another area where we can help, as we have financial calculators that can do just that!

Step Five: Review Your Other Insurance Options

Health and retirement benefits aren’t the only coverages that can help protect your (or your family’s) finances. Consider whether there are others who rely on you for financial support and how they might be affected if your income decreased. Life insurance will protect your spouse, children, or other dependents. Your company likely offers coverage to protect your family or supplement any other policies you might have.

No one likes to think that they could suffer a serious injury, but they happen more often than you think. Disability insurance is a great way to make sure your family can continue to thrive if you were unable to work for a short or long term. Pay close attention to whether they only provide coverage if you’re unable to do any job or if they pay even if you’re merely unable to do your current one.

Although it sounds morbid, accidental death and dismemberment insurance is another coverage that could help your family financially if you were to have an accident that caused you to die; lose a limb; or become speech, hearing, or vision impaired.

Step Six: Update Your Beneficiaries

Open enrollment is also a great time to make sure all of your designated beneficiaries are up-to-date. If you’ve gotten married or divorced, lost a relative, or had a child, you’ll want to update your policies accordingly. These designations trump even what’s in your will, so it’s important not to skip this step.

That’s it! You’re all done! Piece of cake, right? We know open enrollment can be intimidating due to the many decisions you have to make. But that’s why we’re here. Call us today if we can help take some of the stress out of this important time of year.