If you receive your health and other insurance through your employer, you may be familiar with the term Open Enrollment. But do you truly understand what this means for you and your family?
We’re going to break it down for you and give you some advice on how to approach your Open Enrollment season differently this year.
“What is Open Enrollment?”
Open Enrollment is the one time a year when employees can enroll in company benefits or make changes to their elections (change medical plans if there are multiple options, add or remove dependents, add or remove other benefits).
“Oh right. I’ve heard of that. I always tell them I don’t have any changes.”
You might want to think again. It is very important for employees to really evaluate their options at Open Enrollment each year. Take the time to do a little homework because 30 minutes now could save you hundreds of dollars or more in premiums and/or medical expenses.
First, create a username and password to access your benefits information on your insurance company’s website. This is the quickest and easiest way to find plan information and manage claims. You can see your claims from this year, last year, and possibly further in the past.
Second, use your insurance company’s website to review what benefits you and your family really use—and don’t use! How often do you see your doctor? What prescription drugs do you take? Are they Generic or Name Brand or Specialty Drugs?
Third, think about your level of satisfaction with your current plan. Some questions to consider might be:
Have you steered clear of your employer’s High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a compatible Health Savings Account (HSA) because it doesn’t have a copay for your medications or a doctor’s office visit?
If yes, do you actually take medications? If you do, what would the cost be if you didn’t have a copayment?
How often do you go to the doctor, and what would you pay under the HDHP plan? You probably won’t know if you don’t look at your claims detail, and it might surprise you.
Do some basic math. The premium savings out of your paycheck may more than you pay for those occasional prescriptions and doctor’s visits.
If your employer offers Life Insurance, Open Enrollment is a great time to think about your Beneficiary. Have you experienced any life changes which would cause you to need to update this?
“Benefits are hard! What if I get stuck while I’m reviewing and have a question?”
Hang in there, friend! While they can’t make your decision for you, your Human Resources Department or the broker who manages your Employee Benefits are there to help you understand the plans and terminology.
“That sounds good. When’s the deadline again?”
Every employer has a different deadline, so make sure you know yours!
Remember to do your research early so if you have questions, you have the opportunity to get answers. Avoid procrastinating on completing and turning in your paperwork. Once Open Enrollment is over, you will likely not have the opportunity to make a change until Open Enrollment next year.