Are you prepared for your company’s annual open enrollment?
Annual open enrollment season is coming up for employees across the country, when many of us select our medical, dental and vision insurance plans, among other benefits.
With the shifting health care landscape and possible changes to your company’s offerings, benefit enrollment periods can be a confusing experience. But if you or a family member has a chronic disease, experiences a significant injury or is diagnosed with a serious illness, you’ll be relieved you spent the time thinking critically about these important choices.
“The most important step to navigating the process is devoting time after business hours or on the weekend away from other distractions to review your company’s benefits offerings,” says Ria Bell, Human Resources Benefits Executive Director at Advocate Aurora Health.
“Don’t wait until the last moment and breeze through your selection,” Bell says. “Because many people feel overwhelmed, they tend to avoid making selections. But typically, human resources professionals are available at your workplace to help if you have questions.”
Bell offers these tips for those who are electing benefits coverage from their employer or affiliated benefits provider in 2018-2019:
- Review your current medical, dental and/or vision coverage. Before you know what insurance coverage you need, you’ll want to evaluate if your needs have changed or are likely to change in the next year.
- Use this time to update beneficiaries, if needed, and review your retirement savings contributions.
- Estimate out-of-pocket costs if you want to contribute to a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Health Care FSA’s can pay for eligible medical, dental and vision care expenses that aren’t covered by your health plan – typically, at a cost-savings to you because they are drawn from your paycheck before taxes.
- Find out if your employer offers a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. This type of account allows you to set aside money from your paycheck, pre-tax, in order to be reimbursed for eligible expenses related to the care of your dependents (like pre-school, summer camp, after-school care, adult/elder care).
- Determine if your current life, dependent life and/or long-term care insurance coverage provides adequate protection for you and your family. The costs to acquire additional coverage are often much less than people think. Although it may be uncomfortable to consider, ensuring the financial security of your loved ones and having the peace-of-mind is priceless.
- Your company likely offers information sessions or other resources to help you make informed decisions during enrollment. Don’t wait until the last minute – take advantage of these opportunities to make sure you’re making the most appropriate decisions for your personal circumstances.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.