2018 Open Enrollment Tips
It’s the most wonderful time of the year … open enrollment season! Here are eight benefit selection tips to get you on the path for a smart, financially savvy 2019.
- Sticking with your current plan? Pay close attention to the coverage details summarized in the renewal info you got from your insurer/exchange. And make sure your preferred doctors are still “in your network.” Provider networks change frequently as physician groups join together and health systems re-contract with insurers.
- More than one in four people experience a disability for 90 days or more before they reach age 67. Don’t overlook your short-term disability and long-term disability coverage. Common health issues like diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, back injuries lead to the most disability claims. And workers comp only replaces a portion of your income if you’re disabled because of a work-related injury.
- Are there health and wellness benefits you should be taking advantage of? Keep an eye out for health coaching, weight loss programs, health assessments, etc. There’s often a financial incentive to participate!
- Re-evaluate your need for life insurance. Most of us know the importance of protecting income when you have dependents that are relying on you. But maybe you’re child-free and you own a home with your spouse or partner. If something happened to you would they be able to cover the mortgage themselves? Or would they be forced to move? Alternatively, if you have a co-signer on your private student loans, that person is responsible for paying off your loan even after you’ve passed.
- Try to save an additional 2% (or 3% or 4%) to your retirement plan next year. The 401k/403b/457 contribution limit will be $19,000 in 2019. Same $6,000 catch-up contribution if you are age 50 or over. Remember, an employer match is not included in these limits, so keep squeezing that budget!
- Pull out the data. How much did you spend in the past year on premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, regular prescriptions? How many doctors’ visits did you have? Did money left in your FSA account go to waste? Any life changes this year that impact your health insurance selection (addition to the family or new medical condition)?
- Use all the tools. If you have an employer sponsored plan, many health insurers offer comparison tools that you can customize to determine the best plan to fit your needs. And if you have a plan on the individual market, check out ehealthinsurance.com or gohealth.com to do some comparison shopping.
- Now is the time to do a dive deep into your benefits selection options. Your next opportunity won’t be until November 2019 if you have a plan in the individual market (on and off-exchange). Unless of course, you experience a life event that qualifies you for a special enrollment period: new baby, aging out of a parent’s plan, divorce or marriage, lost your job, etc.
Good luck, and set a goal to have your selections made by December 1st! As far as last-minute scrambling with holiday presents – that one’s on you.