Changes in Open Enrollment, America’s Top Insurance Lawyer, Frank N. Darras Offers Tips That Can Protect Your Wallet
As the open enrollment period quickly approaches, workers across all states should be aware of how the economy and our new healthcare law could affect their health insurance. For those unfamiliar, open enrollment refers to the period of time during which all members of a group health insurance plan have the opportunity to enroll in certain benefit programs. Open enrollment is generally held only once a year and requires an insurance carrier to accept all applicants of the group without underwriting or evidence of insurability.
“If you miss your company’s annual enrollment, you will likely not be able to enroll in the plan until next year. Exceptions include new employees and major life-changing events, such as divorce, birth of a baby, or adoption. Otherwise, it’s enroll now or wait until next year,” says Frank N. Darras, America’s top insurance lawyer.
Workers should take advantage of new wellness incentives if employers offer them. Under the new healthcare law, major incentives and tax breaks are given to employers for offering wellness programs. These programs usually have money-saving incentives for healthy behaviors, such as exercising regularly or not smoking.
“Wellness incentives are a major benefit provided by the new healthcare law. If your employer offers them, not only will your wallet benefit, but so will your health. If it’s not offered, talk to your human resources department and urge them to consider it. After all, your employer benefits just as much as you do,” says Darras.
Wellness incentives aren’t the only changes to look out for during open enrollment. The difficult economy has led to many changes in employer-sponsored group health plans. Employers are offering fewer benefits and requiring more out-of-pocket contributions due to rising healthcare costs. It’s important for workers to look for these changes when renewing their policy during open enrollment.
“Don’t assume that the option you had previously is still the same. It’s likely that it’s not. Look closely for changes before enrolling and make the best decision based on your needs and budget,” says Darras.
Opening a Flexible Spending (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), or dependent care savings account are good options to help save on healthcare costs. These accounts can be added in addition to health insurance and provide tax-free savings.
“Knowing the changes occurring in health care and weighing all your options during open enrollment will help save you money. If you have any questions during this period, reach out to your human resources department or consult a top insurance lawyer to ensure you are choosing the best option for you and your family,” says Darras.