Open enrollment has shown to be a positive and beneficial experience and process for both companies and employees. As an employee, ensuring that you’re picking the right plans, isn’t always easy. Further in this article, we will briefly explain open enrollment and how to best check the open enrollment checklist for employees.
What is open enrollment?
Open enrollment is a period of time that usually occurs once a year (but not always) – in which employees have the chance to choose changes they want to make to their benefits, such as health insurance. It is not set for a certain period of time, but most companies have an open enrollment period of at least two to four weeks.
Whether you have just selected or will soon select your plan, we suggest always considering the following checklist to ensure that you’re making the right choice.
Understand the terminology
The health benefits packages and plans often have a not-so-common terminology. This is why you should understand the differences between terms such as co-pay and coinsurance, in-network vs out-of-network care, and a premium and deductible plan. In order to not select the wrong package just because you don’t know the terms, we suggest you research them online or ask your HR and managers.
Analyse your lifestyle
If there is any major change that you think will occur in your lifestyle, note it. For example, if you’re planning to get married or have a child, it could affect the plan you’re picking. Also, if there is any medical change that has occurred lately, you should take it into consideration.
Review your current selection
Compare what your current benefit plans consist of with what you think you need. What do your plans cover, who are the listed beneficiaries etc. should matter in your decision-making. In addition, please take time to analyze any related material that you have been offered. If there is any session organized by the company to further explain your current/future package selection, make sure to attend it.
Since your company is considerate to offer you open enrollment, we’re sure they don’t mind offering help. Ask any question you may have that might bring some clarity to your decision. You may learn about new benefits that you didn’t know about, and how they align with your lifestyle.
Calculate the finances
Even though it’s time-consuming, choosing a plan solely on the basis of how much it would cost you per pay check could end up costing you more money long-term – if you don’t choose the one that best suits your needs. List all of your medical expenses for the past year, including co-payments for doctor visits and prescription drugs, coinsurance, deductible, and your premiums. Examine the ways in which each of your options pays for those identical costs. You might be shocked by the plan that will cost you less.
Decide whether or not to continue on parents’ plan
This is a possibility if you’re under the age of 26, but be sure it’s the wisest financial move. When you need care, you might have to pay out-of-network charges if you don’t live close to your parents, which can quickly add up.
Consult with your spouse (and any other dependent adults you have)
If you’re married or have any dependents, make careful to talk to them about what your best needs are. Being a team player and keeping them informed about your benefits package is always vital!
Seek clarification about optional benefits
Examples of optional benefits include financial counseling, supplemental disability insurance, dental and vision care, and even pet insurance. To supplement the assistance they can give employees, more firms are now providing these. You pay the full price, but the rates are far lower than if you had purchased them independently. Check what services are offered at your place of employment.
Questions you may have
When do benefits start?
The specific timing will depend on your plan, but open enrollment typically starts in the late fall and your benefits start in the new year. Jan. 1 or Feb. 1, depending on when you signed up and sent your first premium, are typical start dates.
Once open enrollment has ended, can I adjust my benefits?
When you enroll in health benefits, you do it for an entire year at once. Companies require a “qualifying life event” in order to adjust your benefits. Birth, death, marriage, and divorce are a few examples of qualifying life events.