For most people, their company’s open enrollment kicks off sometime between September and November. It’s the chance you have each year to analyze your benefits and make sure they still reflect your needs, and your family’s needs.
Too many people skim over the information they receive for open enrollment and commit to what they had last year. But a lot can change in a year, and you could be shortchanging yourself by not looking carefully at your options.
Here is your guide to making the most of open enrollment this year:
Open Enrollment: Review Your Benefits
Let’s be honest: reading through your benefits options isn’t exactly light reading, and it can often be confusing. When you’re not sure what you need or what you’re being offered, it’s going to be a challenge to choose the benefits you need.
Luckily, many companies set up time for employees to meet with the Human Resources department about their benefits during open enrollment. If your company doesn’t, don’t be afraid to request time to ask any questions.
You can also work with your financial planner and CFP to make sure your bases are covered.
Know Your Needs
Major life events warrant another look at your health insurance plan and deductible. You might not be using your benefits to your advantage.
Big changes in the year ahead: Getting married or divorced? Having a baby? Anticipating major medical expenses? If you’ve got life changes happening over the next year, make sure your benefits reflect that.
For example, if you’re getting married, you might need to compare your health care benefits to your spouse’s to see if you want to join their plan instead.
Has your plan or provider changed? A change in your plan or provider could cost you serious money if you’re not aware of what is and is not covered. Sometimes a plan that looks good on paper could change to a network that is out of your area or doesn’t cover your current care. Make sure you at least skim the information from your insurance coverage so you don’t run into surprise expenses down the road.
Your 401(k): Take a look at your 401(k) every year, and make sure you’re still familiar with your company’s match policy. (Don’t forget to claim your matches if you haven’t!) See if your plan allows for Roth 401(k) contributions if it makes sense for you.
Hidden perks: Some insurance companies will lower your premiums for participating in surveys or becoming CPR certified. Many insurance plans also offer discounts for fitness clubs, programs to help smokers quit, weight loss programs and some surgeries, like Lasik.
Other Ways to Prepare for Open Enrollment
Here are a few additional items for your open enrollment to-do list:
- Make sure you have sufficient disability and life insurance coverage
- Get up-to-speed on your retirement savings options and increase contributions
- Look for other available benefits, like HSA/FSA accounts, tuition reimbursement and legal services
Check out these other open enrollment resources on my blog:
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP® works with busy professionals to help them organize their financial life and make progress on their goals. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.