Thursday, October 2, 2014

Open Enrollment: Tips For Choosing The Right Benefits For Your Family

Want to know a crazy fact? According to the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey 41 percent of employees 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. That pales in comparison to time spent researching popular consumer purchases such as a new car (10 hours), family vacation (5 hours), new computer (5 hours), and TV’s (2 hours). How is that possible??!

Look, I get it. Going through enrollment options is not the most exciting thing in the world, but not doing your due diligence can cost your family additional money and grief. Especially when life can be so unpredictable. Rarely do accidents and illness happen when it’s convenient for you, so it’s best to have a plan in place.

As open enrollment fast approaches it’s time to set aside some time and educate yourself on the policies available. If you need help, here are some useful tips my family and I follow:

Know Your Needs 
The majority of workers “auto-enroll” or keep the same benefits year after year instead of adjusting it to their current needs. Think about what your needs are. Will you be expanding your family, or do you have a current medical problem? Those are all things you need to think about when choosing your plan.

Understand Your Benefits 
Most people rarely understand everything that is covered by their policy and never even bother to look it up. To minimize confusion, take time to look up terms you don’t understand such as voluntary insurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses. If you’re still unsure, ask your employer to arrange meetings with health care insurance agents or brokers to answer questions, or attend on-site seminars and webinars.

Look At Your Budget 
Carefully review and understand the financial implications your choices have on your budget. In addition to monthly premiums, make sure you can afford the yearly deductible costs. If a high deductible looks like it may be a burden, choose a plan with a slightly higher monthly premium and a lower deductible that may be easier to manage.

Need more information about open enrollment? Aflac WorkForces Report is here to help!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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