Prepare Yourself for Open Enrollment

The days are growing shorter and the air is taking on a certain chill. It can only mean one thing: Everyone’s favorite season is here: Open Enrollment!

Okay, Open Enrollment might not actually be anyone’s favorite season, but it also doesn’t have to be a time of dread. Go into the process with information, a sense of what you want, and the willingness to ask a few questions, and you can make Open Enrollment an easy – and beneficial – experience.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Know what you have. Before you have the Open Enrollment forms in front of you, take the time to understand the benefits you have now. Decide if you want or need to make changes.
  2. Look at what you’re being offered. Review the information for the coming year and make sure you understand what’s being offered. If you have questions, ask them. Don’t assume keeping the same plan means everything will be the same. Benefit plan details often change from year to year.
  3. Think about the past year, and the coming year. Major life changes might necessitate a change in benefits.
  4. Tap into technology. Some firms offer access to websites or apps that help you make better benefit choices. If yours does, take advantage of it. Use a call-in line if your company or benefits provider offers it. It’s worth the time to get useful information.
  5. Check the network. Check your provider network to make sure your doctor is included, even if you plan to keep the same plan. Sometimes doctors leave networks, or networks change their parameters.
  6. Open an account. You might be offered a Health Savings Account (HSA), a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), or a Domestic Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA). These are all savings accounts that can save you money based on your health care spending. Each has its own rules about how you can use the money. Understand your options and their impact before you choose one or the other. If such plans are offered, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the potential savings.
  7. Get Wellness. If your employer offers wellness programs and incentives, take full advantage of them. Not only will they make you healthier, they’ll also save you money.

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