Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time Well Spent - Open Enrollment Season!

The fall is an incredibly busy time for everyone; back to school, getting into a routine, starting to think about the holidays, and also open enrollment for benefits.

It is a dreaded time in our household, wondering how much more we will have to pay for health insurance, going through the stack of paperwork, when all we want to do is go outside and play in the newly fallen leaves!

Did you know that most Americans spend more time researching which computer to buy or vacation to go on than researching their benefit options? 

The 2014 Aflac Enrollment Survey found that 41% of employees spend 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season; and nearly a quarter (24%) spent 5 minutes or less.

What?!  That is insane to me!  I know that every year my husband brings home a very large stack of papers, and we sit down and read it.  I tend to want to know as much information as possible, so I am going through every bit of that paperwork.  I want to know if I have options that were not available in previous years, as well as how much things are changing.  Even if your premium isn’t changing, that doesn’t mean that your benefits themselves are not changing.

It seems like every year there are more options regarding deductibles, what is covered changes, what used to be covered last year is now under a different category and will cost you extra.  It is enough to make your head spin. 

One of the most important things to do during this time is to consider the financial implications of your choices.  It may cost less to take that higher deductible, but what happens if you need to pay that deductible?  Will you be able to afford it?  It might make more sense to have a higher premium.  

Another area that I haven’t looked at as closely as I should have is co-insurance.  I know a lot of companies are implementing co-insurance so that employees take more control in their own health insurance needs.  But, those costs can skyrocket quickly!  Especially if you are expecting a new baby...

The Aflac WorkForces Report offers a great amount of information on open enrollment and other options available to you.  Aflac is a Fortune 500 company that provides individual and group voluntary insurance products.  Their voluntary insurance policies are there to help supplement major medical plans.  Some of the voluntary insurance options they offer are accident, dental, life, vision, cancer, and hospital intensive care.

How much time to you spend researching your options during open enrollment?  Just because you have chosen the same plan year after year doesn’t mean that you can’t change it if your circumstances have changed!  Open enrollment is the time to do this.  Ask your HR representative for as much information as possible, and make sure you attend all of those benefits meetings at your place of employment!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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