What is Open Enrollment?
This is open enrollment season at many employers. What is open enrollment? It’s basically a window of time that your employer allows you to change your benefit elections for the upcoming year. Since you typically only get one chance to do this, you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of it. Here are some things you should do:
1. Update your Medical Health Insurance:
Look to see if the cost or benefits of the plans will change from what they presently are. Sometimes employers will raise or lower premiums, co-pays, and covered benefits for various plans. This might make it worth it to make the switch, but if you don’t at least look at the details, you’ll never know. This year, I discovered that my plan no longer charges a co-pay for preventative health visits.
2. Update your Medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA):
During open enrollment you can elect how much to put into your FSA. FSA’s are spending accounts that are funding by deductions from your paycheck. The nice thing about FSA’s is that the funds are not taxed, so you are saving money on your medical expenses.
Check to see how much your employer will allow you to deduct – as it is not always the IRS allowed maximum. If you do opt for an FSA, be careful not to load it with more than you will spend as it is often ‘use it or lose it’ in many plans. The IRS is now permitting $500 for FSA’s to rollover, however not all employer accounts will permit this.
3. Update your Beneficiary Information:
If you’ve had any major life changes in the past year that would cause your beneficiaries to change, open enrollment is the time to update.
4. Consider Voluntary Life Insurance and Disability Insurance:
If you are currently paying for these things on your own, your employer may be able to offer you a better rate through a voluntary group plan. The costs for these voluntary plans would be deducted from your paycheck.
Open Enrollment Discussion:
- Have you made any changes to your benefits during open enrollment? What changes?
- How much are you funding your FSA with?