Doing your homework during Open Enrollment and weighing all your options can save you money. By following these tips, you can navigate through Open Enrollment and make the best benefits decisions for you and your family.
Try to avoid rushing through the process and choosing to re-enroll in the benefits. You may be losing out on new and better plans and valuable savings.
If you’re married, review benefits offered by your spouse’s employer, and compare your benefits options with those offered to your spouse. If you have separate coverage, does it make sense for both of you to be on one plan? When evaluating Consumer-Directed Benefits, such as a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA), keep in mind pre-tax funds you set aside can also be used to pay for eligible expenses for you and your eligible family members.
If your employer has a “passive” Open Enrollment—allowing you to renew your plans automatically—that doesn’t mean you should do so. Take time to review plan details as there may be significant changes in coverage or premiums from year to year. There may be additional coverage possibilities, and contribution limits for some Consumer-Directed Benefits may not be the same.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Commuter Benefits allow you to pay for eligible expenses with pre-tax dollars, resulting in significant savings. Pre-tax benefits are a great way to pay for a wide variety of eligible expenses, such as copays, prescriptions, childcare and getting to and from work via public transportation. When you take advantage of these benefits, your annual take-home pay is more than if you pay for the same expenses on a post-tax basis.
Evaluating the costs and savings opportunities of benefits pays off in the long run. What are you paying per paycheck for healthcare, dental and vision premiums? What are your expected out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for the coming year? How much is the deductible? You may discover that a high-deductible health plan, if offered by your employer, is a more affordable option, particularly if a Health Savings Account (HSA) is offered as well.
Keep these tips in mind as you head into Open Enrollment, and you’ll be well prepared to make the best decisions.