Our life has changed a lot in the past year and a half. We sold a home. Bought a home. Moved cross country. My husband turned 50. I turned 40. Our daughter graduated from high school. We took her to college. Phew!
And now open enrollment for our health benefits is soon to be upon us and we need to look carefully at what we currently have and the options we have to choose from for the upcoming year.
Last year was the first time in a long while that we really looked at our options carefully. That was due in part to moving to another state, and even though my husband works for the same employer the coverage was a bit different here in Texas than it was in South Dakota.
This year we’ll have to take a good hard look again at everything that is offered by way of different benefits packages. We’re in a different stage of life now. No longer ‘parenting’ but headed toward those golden years (which really just means getting older!). And we have a college student, and honestly I don’t even know how that quite fits into the mix in regards to our benefits.
Due to that I’m making sure my husband Takes Advantage of the Benefits Education Resources his employer offers. They have a couple of days where they have on-site seminars for questions that he can attend. You can find out if your company offers those, or they may have webinars or a human resource employee that can guide you through the relevant materials and explain terms of the polices that you are unsure of. Some employers will even arrange meetings with health care insurance agents or brokers to answer questions.
Those who don’t set aside time to research their insurance options may make hasty benefits decisions and end up wasting money. The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that the majority (90 percent) of workers are “auto-enrolling” or keeping the same benefits year after year. And, four in 10 (42 percent) workers waste up to $750 each year on mistakes with their insurance benefits.
So we’re getting ready for open enrollment. As corny as it may sound, we made a ‘date’ to sit down once our benefits package arrives and carefully weigh our options. Together. Chocolate and popcorn will make an appearance at the table during that afternoon too, you can be sure of that 😉 As much as I love my husband he tends to be a creature of habit (you know like “auto-enrolling”), and I’m more likely to ask questions about the new and unknown. By going through the material together, I can let him know what I think and come up with some questions for him to take to open enrollment/benefits education sessions at his office. Then we can make a complete informed decision on what package to go with for 2015.
The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that 41 percent of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season; and nearly a quarter (24 percent) spent five minutes or less.
To put that in perspective as a society we spend more time researching mortage loans and new car purchases, planning vacations, shopping for new computers and deciding what televisions to buy than we do examing our benefits booklets!
I know we certainly fall into that lot! There were years we’ve been in that statistic, and after the fact we found it would have been time well spent to have thoroughly researched the benefit offerings. Those years we paid more in premiums than we needed to. Lesson learned.
The reality is our circumstances change over the years, and our health care insurance should reflect those changes. It serves you as an individual and your whole family well, to have a better understanding of all your benefit options and how they work.
I found the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey very eye opening considering in the United States, Aflac has been the number one in worksite/voluntary sales for 13 consecutive years. (Eastbridge Consulting Group, U.S. Worksite/Voluntary Sales Report. Carrier Results for 2002-2014. Avon, CT.) And for eight consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For nearly six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress.
How about you? Are you ready for open enrollment? Or do you feel overwhelmed and confused by all the health benefit information that is presented to you? Are you going to make a change this year and really dissect your open enrollment package and/or ask for help if needed? Visit Aflac WorkForces Report website for more information on open enrollment.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.