Here’s an open enrollment cheat sheet

It’s almost that time of year again. No, not the Holidays, open enrollment! You have from Nov. 1 until Dec. 15 to finalize your employer benefits for 2019.

If you are dreading the chore of sorting through new benefit options, you aren’t alone. According to the 2107 Aflac Workforce Report,67% of Americans surveyed find the experience stressful, too long and too complicated.

It’s so bad that 92% of those surveyed just keep the same benefits year after year, rather than wade through the paperwork required to make changes. Fifteen percent would rather file their taxes than research the latest employer benefits. Of those willing to do research, 83% reported spending less than an hour on it.

Unfortunately, opting out of this “chore” could cost you in the long run.

If you don’t feel like going over every single benefit, here are few that experts say should always be part of your must review list.

Health insurance: Setting this on automatic pilot could have you inadvertently selecting a more expensive plan … and one that won’t meet your needs. Take a moment to review your health plan premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and co-pays. What worked and what didn’t this year? Think about what procedures may be needed next year. Will you be starting a family? Are there any recently diagnosed medical conditions that will need to be addressed into the new year? Are the doctors you love still in-network? Is an HSA a better option for your family in 2019? Looking at what you’ve spent this year and in previous years could give you a better idea of what you’ll need from your 2019 health plan. 

Flexible Spending Accounts: These use-it-or-lose it pre-tax accounts, which can be used for dependent care or health care costs, can be a life saver. Get your reimbursement forms in. If you signed up for it years ago, make sure it still makes sense for you. If you have no idea if your employer offers it, you may find it worth your time to see if it would be right for 2019. The only way to know for sure is to do the research.

401(k)s and other retirement option plans: If you do only one thing, please sign up for employer-sponsored retirement plans … especially if they include an employee contribution match option. Already signed up? Review your current contributions. Could you invest more?

New benefits: Your employer may offer life insurance, disability insurance, legal programs, weight loss program or gym membership. Pay attention, because your job might just pay for your New Year’s Resolution.


Myriam DiGiovanni

Myriam DiGiovanni

After writing for Credit Union Times and The Financial Brand, Myriam DiGiovanni covers financial literacy for FinancialFeed. She is also a storytelling expert and works with credit unions to help ... Web: Details

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