The last installment in our November Edu-Blog series on healthcare is dedicated to the stragglers. Remember that open enrollment closes on December 15th, 2021.
We all know that enrolling in healthcare coverage is about as exciting as watching paint dry and nerve-wracking as watching your football team down by seven with six seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Healthcare enrollment is one of those things everyone procrastinates on, not just us natural procrastinators. So to take some of the sting out of enrolling towards the end of the open period, I offer you this list of simple to-do’s to get ready to enroll and helpful tips to keep your whole financial house in order.
I promise they will make life easier.
Six tips to make open enrollment less painful¹
Evaluate Your Medical Coverage Offerings
When choosing your health care coverage plan for 2022, I firmly believe that you should know these things about yourself. These four things will help you easily determine which plans you shouldn’t use and narrow the field quickly to a small pool of eligible plans.
- How often you tend to visit the doctor
- Whether you anticipate a change in your health care needs
- Whether you have more dependents to cover, like a new baby
- Whether you take regular prescription medications
Look Into Dental and Vision Benefits
Believe it, or not many plans don’t cover your lookers and your chompers. So once you have your medical coverage selected, it’s important to look for vision and dental coverage should your plan not cover these.
- Find out if your company’s plan or your selected self-pay plan offers vision insurance. If they don’t, these plans can easily be purchased from several reputable insurance companies.
- Choose which type of plan makes sense for you.
- Vision Benefits Plans - You pay a premium in exchange for eye care coverage and, possibly, an allowance for frames and lenses.
- Vision Discount Plans - Offer lower premiums and a percentage discount off services from participating doctors and eye care centers.
I recommend asking yourself these key questions to determine what dental plan is right for you:
- Do I only need to cover preventive checkups and cleanings?
- Do I anticipate needing such services as root canals, oral surgery, or orthodontics in 2022?
Determine if it is beneficial to use an HSA or FSA
Both types of employer-driven accounts enable you to use pretax money to cover eligible health expenses.
- An HSA or Health Savings Account allows you to roll over your funds, and the money is investable. However, this plan is only available to participants in high-deductible insurance plans.
- With an FSA or Flexible Spending Account, the company you work for owns the FSA, and if you aren’t able to use the funds before year-end, you will likely lose the money. It behooves you to know what you may spend on healthcare out of pocket before determining the amount to contribute for the year.
Reassess your retirement contributions
While this tip doesn’t apply to the stragglers alone, it is a great idea to use the open-enrollment season as a time to perform an annual check-up on your retirement accounts.
- Start by looking at your current contributions to your retirement accounts, regardless of type, and make sure you contribute the maximum allowed each year.
- With employer plans, like 401k’s, it’s critical to make sure you contribute enough for the company match to be applied.
- This is an excellent time to determine if you are on track to reach your retirement nest-egg goals, i.e., your retirement number.
Review all your insurance options
Although open enrollment is most often associated with health insurance, there are other types of coverage your company may offer that could help protect your income, such as life, disability, and accidental death, and dismemberment.
So, while you are tending to your health insurance coverage and your nest egg, it’s a good idea to make sure you have these areas covered as well.
Update Your Beneficiaries
Before I set you free from insurance land, the last thing I want you to consider as you use this time to make sure you are on track across the board is the beneficiaries you have listed on all the account types we have discussed today.
Make sure their information is accurate and up to date each year to avoid any messiness later on.
Well, that concludes our painful discussion of open enrollment for 2022, and I now release you into the happy month of December, where we will prepare to start a brighter (and better) New Year. Have a wonderful week!