Being fairly new to the “real world” (about two and a half years in), there are a lot of things I’ve learned that no one prepared me for in adulthood, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. One of these “things” that will be popping up (for the third time for me) is Open Enrollment. There are a number of options available when choosing benefits and it can be a bit overwhelming. The easy thing to do is to just check an option for each category and move on, but doing so could really hurt you down the line.
Aflac’s 2014 WorkForces Report found that nearly half of millennials spent 30 minutes or less selecting their benefit choices last year. Even more surprising, only 15% of millennial workers agreed that managing health care expenses is important! Sure, we all like to think that we’re invincible and won’t get sick, injured, or have to deal with some kind of medical emergency. But the truth is, anything could happen at any moment. With 35% of millennials having less than $500 to pay for out-of-pocket expenses, we’re all just one emergency away from financial disaster.
- Think of health insurance premiums as a monthly budget essential like rent, rather than a discretionary expense, like entertainment.
- Educate yourself about how your insurance deductible works. Choosing a plan with a low monthly premium and a high deductible may give you more money in your paycheck, but could also result in unaffordable payments if you need medical care beyond covered preventive services.
- If your company offers a health savings account as part of a high deductible health plan, contribute as much as the plan allows so you’ll have money set aside to help meet the deductible and other payments.
- Consider adding voluntary insurance products for more financial protection. Accident and Critical Illness plans work hand-in-hand with major medical plans, providing benefits to help policyholders with health-related costs their primary insurance may not cover. Those policies can also be used to help with out-of-pocket costs and other expenses that continue to roll in even if you’re too ill or injured to work.
How do you prepare for open enrollment?
Disclosure: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.