Open enrollment is coming soon, and that means choosing a health benefits package for the year. So where do you start, how do you decide which plan to choose?
I remember the first year I had to choose a health plan through my employer, I had so many questions - What's a deductible, what does out-of-pocket maximum mean, how do I know what's covered and what's not? I attended the benefits education session provided by Human Resources and stayed afterward to ask all my questions. I also spoke with other co-workers, researched online, and asked family members for advice.
Now, even though I understand all of the terms of benefits packages, it's still difficult to decide which plan will be the wisest choice for me financially and for my life stage. During open enrollment, I compare the costs and coverage to last year to see what's changed and what has stayed the same. I also attend the education session that's provided at my workplace and ask any questions I can think of. However, the last few years I've opted for the same plan each year just because I'm familiar with it and know more about it than other plans. The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that 90% of workers are doing the same thing and "auto-enrolling" each year. I've been choosing the plan with the most coverage and highest monthly premiums, but this year I didn't (and likely won't) meet the deductible or use much coverage so I could have saved money on premiums by choosing a different plan. This is just one of the ways that researching benefits options can be time well spent.
According to the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, 41% of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefits options during the 2013 open enrollment session, and 24% spent five minutes or less. Imagine the costly mistakes that can be made by only spending a few minutes choosing your benefits plan! The money you could save each year can be used on household expenses, hobbies, or even a once-in-a-lifetime experience like skydiving. (Some extra cash sure would have come in handy when I went skydiving last year!) On the other end of the spectrum, making sure that you and your family are covered well is also important, so research can help to sustain your quality of life with the right coverage too.
Aflac Incorporated provides individual and group voluntary insurance policies which are designed to supplement major medical plans. Policyholders are paid directly for unexpected costs associated with a covered illness, injury, or loss; In addition, cash benefits can be used to help pay rent, gas, groceries, childcare or other expenses a worker may have. Aflac offers accident, dental, vision, life, cancer, intensive care, and more voluntary insurance policies. Read more about open enrollment and the importance of voluntary insurance in the Aflac WorkForces Report: http://afl.ac/BH6ZR.
And remember - This year during open enrollment, don't "duck" out of your responsibility to research your insurance options. Spend the time comparing each plan and decide what's really right for you and your family. I promise, it will be time well spent!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.