Whatever your company offers during open enrollment for health benefits, be sure you do your homework. This investment of your time can pay off.
It's that time of year again. Soon you'll be herded into the lunchroom with your co-workers and hear the talk about open enrollment. Before you make up your mind to opt in or tune out, however, it may be worth your while to listen to the presentation about your benefits so you don’t miss key information. Who knows? You may discover some unexpected savings.
Here are a few things to think about during your company’s health benefits presentation.
PPO vs. high deductible
Sometimes the preferred provider organization plan is more appealing because it has a lower deductible, but did you know a high-deductible plan could end up saving you money? If you and your family are healthy and have no issues beyond the annual checkups, you may end up spending less thanks to the lower premiums. If you anticipate needing a lot of care next year, however, either due to a health issue or a major event such as surgery or giving birth, the high-deductible plan could end up being more expensive.
Health savings accounts (HSA)
We get it. The last thing you want to do is divert even more of your paycheck away from your existing expenses. But these health savings accounts can be a real gem when you have a high-deductible plan. For one, they are completely tax-free, so you won’t be taxed on that income when it’s set aside in your HSA account, and you won’t pay taxes when you spend the money on doctor's visits, prescriptions, and other health care expenses. Even better, if you don't use it all in a year, you can hang on to it and, in some cases, invest it!
Consider a split
If you are married, this is a good time to compare notes on your employer's health plans to see which works best: sharing a family plan or maintaining individual plans under each of your employers. In some cases, employers charge more to add on family members, so consider your needs, determine what is covered along with your co-pays and deductibles, and do your research to find the best option.
Are you missing anything important? Are you signed up for dental and vision? You might also want to opt in for short-term and long-term disability insurance. Yes, these premiums cost money, but those benefits will help you pay your bills if you break your arm and can’t work for six weeks. Does your workplace or health plan have other perks, such as a rebate for your gym membership? Take advantage!
Whatever your company offers, be sure you do your homework. This investment in your time can pay off for you for months or even years.