Benefits Enrollment Preparation
5 things to check before making your annual benefits enrollment selections
Every year, your company gives you the chance to enroll in employee benefits. Around 35% of employees report feeling overwhelmed with benefit selection and usually just “check the box.”1 If you're among them, we encourage you to make sure the benefits you select can keep pace with your life, and support you into the future.
1. Know what’s available in your company’s benefits package
See if your company options have changed. This could include coverage levels, pricing, and whether the benefits you have are still being offered. Find out if there are new providers for existing products, or if new products have been added. If you're married or have a partner, do the same with your spouse’s package so that you can get the most out of your employee benefits.
2. Understand how deductibles and/or premiums may have changed
Is your company changing its share of its medical plan contribution? Is it moving to a high deductible health plan (HDHP)? That could affect your out-of-pocket medical costs, the benefits you choose, and whether to go with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to help with deductibles. You may want to think about adding Dental, Vision, or supplemental health coverage such as Accident and Critical Illness.
3. Assess any life changes that would call for more or less coverage
Recently married? Having a baby? Moving to a bigger house? That means you now have more day-to-day expenses and future income to protect. This is a good time to consider more Life or Disability insurance. And if you’re expecting a child - or planning to have one soon - Disability or supplemental health insurance could help cover some maternity expenses.
4. Check your latest income and bonus plan
You may be able to allocate a little more money each month. That could be contributing more to a retirement plan, saving for a child's college fund, increasing your Life insurance level, or getting more Disability insurance. Or you could pay down your debt or mortgage. Sure, another flat-screen TV would be nice, but helping improve your family’s financial picture will look a lot better.
5. Review your family’s health history
Is there a likelihood of cancer in your family, or other illnesses such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or stroke? Does your active lifestyle (or that of your children) put you at greater risk for an accident or injury? Supplemental health insurance could provide payments to cover costs your medical plan doesn’t. Of course, it’s a good idea to get coverage before you need it — especially since these types of insurances can be affordable when purchased through your employer.
In addition to reviewing this checklist, be sure to attend in-house benefits fairs and education seminars where you can learn more about the details of each product. And ask a benefits administrator or product representative for guidance or help confirming your product choices.
Changing your benefits during the year
There are times and situations in life that allow you to change your employee benefits outside of the standard enrollment period. Generally you can change your benefit selections if:
- You change employers
- Your status with your employer changes to full time
- Your marital status changes
- You have or adopt a child
- Your spouse passes away
If any of these life events happen, it is recommended that you make changes in your benefits within 30 days. Check with your employer about eligibility.