It feels like I just signed up for health insurance last month… but it’s that time again! Open enrollment for 2015 health insurance coverage is quickly approaching. Are you ready? It’s really important to spend some quality time researching and reviewing your benefits options before open enrollment season begins. Selecting the right health insurance plan may be one of the most important decisions you will make this year, yet many of us do very little research on our health plans. By not researching benefits options ahead of time, you may make hasty decisions which can lead to costly mistakes!
What, you don’t have time? Think about this… Americans spend an average of 10 hours researching for new car purchases, five hours planning a family vacation, four hours shopping for a new computer, and two hours deciding what television to buy… so don’t give me that excuse! The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that 41 percent of American workers spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season, and nearly a quarter (24 percent) spent five minutes or less. We can do better than that!
Here are some tips.
- Read over your policy from the year before. According to the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, the majority (90%) of workers are “auto-enrolling” or keeping the same benefits year after year. Things change, and your benefits should do so accordingly.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Take time to look up terms you don’t understand such as voluntary insurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, etc., and carefully review and compare all available benefits information.
- Take advantage of educational sessions provided by your employer, whether it be an on-site seminar, a webinar, or a meeting with a health insurance agent. Also be sure to read all the relevant education materials… most workers (73%) only sometimes, rarely or never understand everything that is covered by their policy.
- Do a dinner and benefits night with your significant other to make open enrollment planning a bit more enjoyable. Hire a sitter if you can, so you can have a couple of hours to have a serious discussion without any interruptions. Four in 10 (42%) workers waste up to $750 each year due to mistakes with their insurance benefits; your spouse may catch these errors!
- Make sure you can afford your monthly premiums. I tell you this from experience. We went from having no insurance to have a HUGE premium, and it was a big burden on us financially. Understand the financial implications your choices have on your budget, and adjust accordingly. Now we have the lowest monthly premium available to us, but a high deductible, which is easier for us to manage since we don’t go to the doctor often (thank goodness!)
- Read the Aflac WorkForces Report website for more information on open enrollment.
Have you reviewed your health insurance benefits yet this year?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.