Open Enrollment Season: Choosing Your Insurance Plan

We’re coming up on open enrollment season, where most companies send out info on available insurance plans to employees, and you have to decide which plan is the best for you in terms of actual care and pricing. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to ignore this time of year (with the exception of taking an insurance opt-out credit), since I’m under 26, and have been able to stay on my parent’s insurance plan (thanks mom + dad!). But this year, it’s different. I’ll be turning 26 in 8 months and for the first time, I’m going to be on my own in choosing and paying for my own insurance plan. Ahh!

I like to think that I’ll always be healthy and nothing will ever go wrong, but as we all know, when you’re set on something, life always steps in and has other plans. Things could be perfect or on the flipside, it can be rough. You never know, so it’s important to always be prepared!

open enrollment

In addition to the basic/core medical, dental, and vision plans you select, did you know that there are voluntary policies as well? These policies complement major medical coverage/plans and are are designed to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses that may be associated with an unexpected illness or injury.

According to a recent Aflac study, 66% of workers wouldn’t be able to adjust to the high financial costs associated with these unexpected issues, and almost half of respondents indicated having less than $1,000 set aside to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses.


So what are these supplemental polcies? I’ve teamed up with Aflac to share them with you!

  • Critical Illness Insurance – Helps cover expenses from initial diagnosis through treatment for covered health expenses for medical issues that arise from things like heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.
    • Who should consider this? Generation X, Baby Boomers, and those who have a family history of heart disease.
  • Accident Insurance – Helps provide financial protection in the event of a covered accident, including payment for things like x-rays, physical therapy, appliances, and emergency treatment. (Side note: The average medical expense for an accidental injury is $5,500!)
    • Who should consider this? Everyone! Especially active adults (athletes/adventure seekers) and parents with accident-prone kids.
  • Cancer Insurance – Assists with the costs associated with being diagnosed with cancer, including: treatment expenses not covered by major medical insurance, extra child care that may be needed, transportation to/from the doctor, and everyday living expenses (mortgage payments or groceries).
    • Who should consider this? Millennials, parents, and those who have a family history of cancer.
  • Hospital Indemnity Insurance – Helps cover costs associated with a hospital stay, such as rising deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximums. There’s also an option to include benefits for diagnostic procedures, surgery, ambulance transport, and more. (Side note: The average length of a hospital stay is 4.5 days at a cost of $10,400).
    • Who should consider this? Millennials/Gen Y, parents, and those who plan to enroll in health plans with high deductibles.
  • Life Insurance – This is a strange one to think about, but important to consider no matter what stage of life you’re in. Under this policy, you can cover funeral/burial expenses, pay off debt, provide funds for your child’s education, help your spouse with mortgage payments, etc.
    • Who should consider this? Gen Z/Millennials/Gen Y, parents with young children/dependents, and baby boomers approaching retirement age.
  • Disability Insurance – If you need to take Short-Term Disability, this will pay benefits directly to you to cover things like deductibles, car payments, and utility bills. (Side note: Many people believe that Social Security will cover this, but more than 59% of disability claims are denied by the organization).
    • Who should consider this? Parents with young children/dependents and those who think they should take better care of their health (feel stressed or need more sleep and a better diet).

In that same Aflac study mentioned above, it was determined that 34% of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options last year, which is just crazy to me! This is your life and your health we’re talking about here! Be sure to carefully read through and understand all of the plans available to you before you select your option(s).


What’s important to you when choosing an insurance plan?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  1. October 1, 2015 / 3:39 PM

    Great article highlighting the importance of being insured (not to mention you now pay a tax penalty without adequate coverage). It can be stressful but well worth it!

    • October 4, 2015 / 11:05 PM

      Thanks! It’s definitely important to do your research on them. So many options!

  2. October 1, 2015 / 6:24 PM

    Pinning + saving this for later! This is super helpful for someone who doesn’t understand insurance at all (like me).

    • October 4, 2015 / 11:10 PM

      Glad to help :) It’s definitely a tough topic to navigate!

  3. October 2, 2015 / 6:44 AM

    Interesting!! I don’t know what our insurance will look like being abroad but this is a good reference no matter what!


    • October 4, 2015 / 11:25 PM

      Hopefully it won’t be too much more confusing or expensive! Best of luck when it’s time to sit down and figure it out!

  4. Shann Eva
    October 3, 2015 / 12:27 PM

    This is such great information. We have three kids, so we never want to take any chances. I’m going to look more into AFLAC.

    • October 4, 2015 / 11:06 PM

      Hope it’s helpful in figuring out the right plan for you and your family!

  5. October 3, 2015 / 7:10 PM

    Oh wow–first year choosing an insurance plan? Wishing you all the best, I know it can be a headache. We’re American who live overseas–the plans that work for our situation are pretty limited, but we have what’s available.

    • October 4, 2015 / 11:10 PM

      Thanks! I hope you have some good similar options over there. It must be so much more confusing dealing with insurance overseas!

  6. October 5, 2015 / 10:27 AM

    I have to pick a new one this year and it is SUCH a headache. Aflack is great to have in addition to insurance, and I was lucky enough to have it for a while. Good luck in your search!