It’s open enrollment time for many employer-sponsored health insurance plans. While it might be tempting to just keep the same health plan you’ve had for years, now is a good time evaluate your health plan needs and make some adjustments. Here are 5 things to consider this year during open enrollment:
Does your health coverage still meet your needs? Are you paying for maternity coverage, even though you may be unable to have children? Does your policy include “alternative” medicine treatments that you will not use? Getting rid of superfluous coverage can help you save money.
But you may need a plan that provides more of some types of coverage. Are you concerned about your mental health? If so, it might be worth it to make sure that you have that type of coverage available in your plan. Consider your family’s health care needs, and make sure your coverage still provides the protection you need. For life insurance, double-check your beneficiaries. You will need to make changes to your beneficiaries with the insurance plan; just changing your will doesn’t cut it.
2. Employer health incentives
Some employers are adding health incentives for those who take particular measures to curb unhealthy habits. If you are willing to submit to a blood test or fill out a health questionnaire, you might be eligible for a lower premium. It’s not pleasant to do these things, or to sign up for health monitoring if you are trying to quit smoking or battle obesity. But if your employer offers health incentives, and cost is a major factor for you, it might be worth the intrusion.
3. Flexible savings account
Many employers have health plans that come with a flexible savings account. If you are seeing higher deductibles and/or co-pays, you might want to put more money in one of these accounts. Flexible savings accounts come with tax advantages, and allow you to save up for health costs that may not be covered by your plan (such as dental or vision), provide a way for you to plan for more out of pocket expenses, or help you save up to make higher co-pays. Check for limits to contributions to your flexible savings account, and be aware that you lose whatever you don’t use by the end of the year.
4. High deductible plans
If your family doesn’t make much use of health insurance, you might consider a high deductible plan offered by your employer. This can provide you with lower premiums – but you will have to pay more out of pocket. Many choose to combine a high deductible health plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Along with tax advantages, the HSA also rolls over year to year. So you can create a savings plan to cover your more mundane health care needs, and have your high deductible health insurance plan for more catastrophic issues. Just be aware of limits to coverage on some of these plans.
5. Additional insurance
Now is the time to consider whether or not you need additional insurance. Consider options offered by your employer that include long-term care plans or disability plans. You might get a group discount, and some plans can be taken with you when you move jobs. Carefully consider your needs to determine whether or not you could use a little more coverage, just in case.
Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. She contributes to a number of financial sites, and blogs at the Personal Finance Corner.