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5 Questions You Need To Ask During Open Enrollment

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Open Enrollment is underway, so now is the perfect time to review your benefit options. However, research shows that most of us would rather spend time on other tasks. This attitude can have long-term ramifications, such as unexpected costs or insufficient coverage.

According to a recent Aflac survey, 56% of people say they spend less than 30 minutes researching their benefits. Therefore, it's likely you're not getting the most out of your employer's benefit plan.

Fortunately, there's a simple solution: evaluate your life, health and disability insurance coverage every year. Begin your assessment by educating yourself on the offered coverage and how each plan works. The best place to start is your current plan.

When reviewing your current coverage, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Has my health status changed in the last year?
  2. Have my premiums increased?
  3. Has my financial situation changed in a way that jeopardizes my level of contribution?
  4. Have my retirement goals changed?
  5. Have I used my health insurance more than a few times this year?

If you answered yes to one or more questions, it might be time consider other available plans. For example, if you only went to the doctor once or twice, you may not know how well your health insurance plan works.

There are other factors to consider as well. Do you and your spouse both have access to employer-sponsored coverage? If so, should you be insured separately or enroll under one policy? Many employers also offer high-deductible healthcare plans with an optional savings account. If you can afford the high deductible, and want the resulting lower monthly premiums, a HSA is a sensible option.

You should also look into benefits you may not be enrolled in, such as disability insurance. Most people think they don't need it, but you have a 1 in 4 chance of suffering a disabling illness or injury in your working years. The cost of disability insurance is miniscule compared to the income you might lose if you cannot work.

By evaluating your needs and comparing them to your coverage options, you can make sure you get the best coverage at the lowest possible cost.

Source: CNBC, "Don't be unprepared to make open-enrollment decisions," Shelly Schwartz, accessed November 5, 2015

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