Open enrollment is the period provided by your employer to make changes to your benefits. Most people use this time to review and update their coverage, and make decisions about benefits offered by their employers. Use the open enrollment period to think about your current insurance and investment strategies, and consider whether any changes need to be made. Here are five considerations not to forget.
Are you on the best health plan? Your employer probably offers you a few health plans to choose from. It can be tempting to select the plan that takes the least amount of money out of your paycheck. However, health insurance costs are rising, and you do not want to play catch-up when it is time to meet deductibles and pay for unexpected care. It might be worth it to pay a little more out of your paycheck for the plan that provides the most coverage for you and your family, especially since that money comes out of your salary before taxes.
Are you saving enough for retirement? If your company matches any 401K or 403b contributions that you make, try to save the maximum amount that they match. This is basically free money for you, over and above your salary. This is tax-free money that you are investing for retirement, and if your employer is matching what you contribute, you are already earning a return on that investment.
Are you using flexible spending benefits? Some employers will allow you to save money into a flexible spending account, either for healthcare, dependent care, or both. Take advantage of these programs if you have childcare expenses to pay, or out-of-pocket healthcare costs such as co-pays and medication purchases.
Do you have enough life insurance? Some companies provide life insurance for their employers, and others offer it as something they can elect to purchase. Most employer-sponsored plans will cost you less than other life insurance policies, so consider getting life insurance that will at least provide one year of your salary.
Is your short term disability covered? This is especially important if you are a woman who may be getting pregnant in the next year. Most maternity leave is paid for out of short term disability. Make sure you are covered for those temporary periods that you are unable to work. The cost is usually affordable.