Fall means open enrollment season—an opportunity to adjust your benefits elections prior to the start of the New Year. Yet surveys often reveal that many employees are not fully aware of all their employer-provided benefits and don’t take full advantage of them.
To ensure you are not missing out on valuable benefits, be sure to participate in your employer’s open enrollment period this year. This is your opportunity to sign up for benefits or adjust your current plans and coverage amounts. Here are a few important benefits to consider:
1. Health Insurance. Health insurance is often the most important benefit for most people. As it relates to your financial health, it is crucial that you are covered by a comprehensive plan. Otherwise, a serious illness could derail your long-term financial plans. Companies tend to adjust their health insurance coverage and costs annually, so I highly recommend that you carefully weigh your options. If you are married, compare plans with your spouse and choose the plan that offers the two of you the best deal. Compare costs, but don’t overlook coverage limits, deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket limits. High-deductible plans combined with Health Savings Accounts are also becoming more popular. I recommend you consider this option, especially if you are in good health and can afford to cover some out-of-pocket expenses.
2. Flexible Spending Accounts. These accounts allow you to set aside money to pay for future healthcare costs on a pre-tax basis. Revisit how much you set aside in your flexible spending account (if any) in 2016 and be sure to spend down this money before it’s too late. If you wait too long, you will forfeit these funds! You should also consider how much you may want to contribute in 2017.
3. Life Insurance and Disability Coverage. Employers often offer coverage to employees at discounted rates, so consider taking full advantage of this benefit. If you have already opted in, confirm that you have your existing coverage is adequate. Not all group life and disability benefits are portable, so I recommend that you consider supplementing these policies with individual policies too.
All of these decisions can have a significant impact on your financial future, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully. If you need help, please contact me with any questions.