This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Fall is usually the time employers roll out the new benefit open enrollment plan. I don’t think anyone actually enjoys having to pick a new health plan or comparing old ones, a lot of us would just rather ignore it altogether. It is important not only for your family’s health but your financial health to really take the time and look over all the plans and choose the right one for you.
Benefit open enrollment is the only time you will have to make changes to your healthcare plan unless you have a major life event. It is important, especially for millennials, to make sure you have enough health care protection for you and your family. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are looking over your options:
What are your plans?
Looking ahead through the next year take note of any big life plans. Do you want to have a baby next year? Do you have a nagging injury that may require surgery? Do you have a chronic condition that needs special medication?
When looking over the health care options, keep these things in the back of your mind. If you are currently on medication, compare how much that medication would be on the different plans and what could potentially save you money in the long run?
Will you have enough cash to cover your deductibles?
The high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), plans that have a deductible of $1,000 or more, are becoming more and more popular. They may be the only option for some people.
I know that millennials are bogged down with student loan debt, mortgages, and daily expenses. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck.
The higher deductible may look like the cheaper option, but if you go that route you have to make sure you can pay that high deductible in case an emergency happens. Ask yourself if you can really afford it or if you should think about going with a lower deductible but higher cost plan.
Do you really understand the plan differences?
According to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, more than half (56%) of millennials say there are aspects they don’t understand about their overall health care policy, including elements like deductibles, copays or in-network providers.
If you don’t really understand any aspect of your health care plan, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions! Honestly, people of all ages don’t fully understand their coverage…it can be very confusing!
Take advantage of any help your employer gives you. Most will offer online portals where you can compare health plans and there are usually some ways to contact a person thorough online chat or by phone to ask specific questions. Some companies even have benefit experts on site for you to talk to.
Don’t feel embarrassed, you are making sure you are informed about your health and your finances. This could potentially save you a lot of money in the long run!
Should you consider Voluntary Insurance?
If you choose to go with a HDHP, or it is your only option, you may not have enough money to cover the deductibles. You may want to look into a health savings account and voluntary insurance that can help pay for deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.
Voluntary insurance pays cash when you’re sick or hurt so you can focus on getting better and not stressing about paying the bills. Accident, disability, critical illness, cancer, hospital and life insurance are examples of voluntary insurance policies that can complement your major medical insurance.
I personally love the idea of disability insurance. I know a couple of people who had to use this and are glad that they had it. A lot of people don’t realize that you only get paid a fraction of your salary when you are on disability. Your salary decreases, but your bills don’t.
I know that benefit open enrollment is not a sexy topic to talk about but it is something that needs to be discussed. That is one of the things about being an adult, I guess .
I hope that these questions give you a good starting off point when it comes time for your open enrollment. Take the time to really make sure you pick the right plan for you and your family.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life
Assurance Company of New York. Z161128I 10/16