Yes, its that time of year again!! Many of you are receiving your packets from your employers about your Employee Benefits. And just like many other Americans, you might be shocked to see changes this year in your plans and pricing! With new regulations now in place due to Healthcare Reform, as well as the ever-rising increase in health care costs, you as an employee will need all the help you can get.
Employers are making some of the toughest decisions ever this year in regards to benefits and prices. Due to this employees need to take extra precautions to make sure to review their benefits to make the right choice on coverage for the price they can afford. The first step at doing this is making sure to review the Summaries of Benefits for the plans provided. If you are not handed this or mailed, some companies are making this available online and you could even access it through the insurance companies website or mobile app. You may request/view this Summary of Benefit at any point throughout the plan year. Make sure to add it to your favorites list! Remember, if you have any questions about any of the coverages while reviewing this prior to making a decision, write them down, then visit with you plan administrator about your concerns.
While reviewing your Summary of Benefits have a calculator handy and visit with your significant other to discuss all the aspects of the plan. Project your total cost of the plan options over the year. Discuss how many trips to the doctor over the year you might make, (remember your preventative care is covered at 100%). Are there any surgeries, births or medical concerns that might persuade you to go with a lower or higher deductible? What is your current prescription intake? Do you need copays on prescriptions? All these questions could impact your decision on the plan you decide to enroll in.
Also, make sure to check to see if your company is offering any savings accounts to your medical plan to take advantage of. Some of these types of accounts are HSA’s (health savings accounts), FSA’s (flexible spending accounts) or HRA’s (health reimbursement accounts). These accounts are typically set up with your employer contributing some dollar amount to the account and you being able to make additional contributions on a “pre-tax” basis. These savings accounts can be used for any type of Medical, Dental, Vision or Pharmaceutical benefit. There are limits as to how much can be contributed into each account, so please make sure to visit with your plan administrator.
Wellness is another benefit to look for. See if your employer or insurance company is offering any type of wellness incentive for you and your family. The incentives could be in the form of insurance premium discounts, gym memberships or even prizes!
Don’t forget, open enrollment isn’t just for your Health Insurance! Review all your documents! See if your company is offering Dental, Vision, Life, Disability, or even a Supplemental policy that will pay you, not your doctors.
Last but not least, don’t forget your deadlines!! It is very important to turn in all paperwork timely. If you miss your one opportunity to sign up, it could end up costing you more by having to pay higher healthcare costs. Open enrollment is once a year, any changes or elections must be made during this time; otherwise, you will not have another opportunity until another year from now without a Qualifying Event.