Maximizing Your Open Enrollment Benefits

Now is a common time for many employers to start Open Enrollment and allow their employees to make their benefit elections for the upcoming year. When it comes to making your selections, there are a few tactics to keep in mind and ensure you are maximizing your benefits. Follow the guide below to consider your options and get the most out of your employer sponsored health plan.

1. Know Your Deadline & Start Looking Early

Firstly, and most importantly, is knowing your enrollment deadline. Waiting too long means having little time to compare and hastily choosing a plan, or worse, missing your chance entirely. Choosing a health plan is an important decision and will impact how you get treated and make payments to maintain your wellness in the coming year. Once Open Enrollment is available, take the time to do the proper research and follow the steps below to pick the right plan.

2. Do Not Get Complacent

If you enrolled with your employer last year, avoid the temptation of selecting the same plan again outright. It is very possible that the benefits or costs associated with that plan have changed, and another plan may work better for you. Even if your current plan seems like the best option, you should take the time to look at what else is available. If not, you may leave money on the table by not selecting a plan that better suits your health and medical needs.

3. Look at Your Historical and Future Medical Expenses

Before you begin comparing plans, it can be helpful to look back on last year’s medical expenses and look forward to what you anticipate next year. Adding up and categorizing all medical expenses from the previous year will give you a loose expectation on spending for the upcoming year. Categorizing it will help you realize where most of your spending went and will go, for instance, if you anticipate a major dental surgery in the coming year, it could make sense to enroll in a better plan to accommodate that future expense.

4. Compare Plans & Consider Tax-Advantaged Options

Since you have decided to look early, you have the added benefit of taking your time when comparing your options. If you have had any major life changes in the last year, you should keep them in mind. If you were recently married, it may be worth enrolling in your spouse’s health plan if the benefit options are better. Or you may want to mix and match if possible. For instance, even if your health plan is the better of the two, your spouse’s dental or vision offerings may be more worthwhile.

Since you have looked back to past spending and forward to future medical expenses, that will help inform the type of plan that will make sense for you. If you anticipate many new medical expenses, it may make sense to use an HSA to take advantage of the tax benefit. If you are wondering what is best for you financially, you could also speak with your tax advisor.

5. Consider Additional Coverage
In addition to your basic health plan, some employers will offer additional benefits such as life insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings accounts, and much more. While many employees tend to fixate on their health insurance and retirement benefits, it is important to consider other additional benefits as well. Review the full benefits package available to you come Open Enrollment. You may discover a benefit you had previously overlooked.

6. Check Your Prescriptions
Even if you are enrolling in the same health plan as last year, you should always check to see if your prescriptions are still covered. Starting this process early will allow you to reach out to insurers and determine if your necessary medications are included in your plan or partially insured. Take the time to review the finer details on the insurance plan you are considering so you don’t encounter any surprises when it comes time to use your plan in the coming year.

Taking these steps will help to ensure you maximize your employer benefits. Carefully comparing your choices carefully is essential in identifying the plan and benefits that work for your specific needs.

While these guidelines are geared towards employees enrolling in coverage, our local Benefits Consulting Team can also help business owners looking to streamline their employee benefits offerings. You can find out how Pioneer can help you Offer More to attract and retain top talent in the Greater Capital Region by visiting our website.

Pioneer and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

The material provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only. Links to other web sites are provided for reference and do not constitute a referral or endorsement by Pioneer or its affiliates. Please note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not be current. It is recommended that you consult with a financial professional for assistance regarding the information contained herein.