Have you and your family elected to have the same insurance benefit options year after year and then one year realized you could have saved money by spending the time researching all the options? By not researching benefits options ahead of time, it can lead to costly mistakes. I know as a family, we have done this. Just fill out the basics, and we are good. Right?
Selecting the right health insurance plan may be one of the most important decisions Americans will make this open enrollment period, yet many workers do very little research on their health plans.
• The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that 41% of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season; and nearly a quarter spent five minutes or less.
• In contrast, American workers typically spend more time:
o Researching for new car purchases - 10 hours.
o Planning family vacations - five hours.
o Shopping for new computers - four hours.
o Deciding what television to buy - two hours.
Common Enrollment Mistakes:
• Those who don’t set aside time to research their insurance options may make hasty benefits decisions and end up wasting money.
o The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that the majority of workers are “auto-enrolling” or keeping the same benefits year after year.
o And, four in 10 workers waste up to $750 each year on mistakes with their insurance benefits.
• Also, the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey revealed many workers don’t take the time to understand their benefits choices:
o Most workers only sometimes, rarely or never understand everything that is covered by their policy.
o More than six out of 10 workers sometimes, rarely or never understand changes in their coverage when making annual enrollment decisions.
o 64% disagree or only somewhat agree that they are more prepared for open enrollment this year compared to last year.
Take Advantage of Benefits Education Resources:
• To minimize confusion during the benefits options selection process:
o Carefully review and compare all available benefits information. Take time to look up terms you don’t understand such as voluntary insurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and others.
o Understand the financial implications your choices will have on your budget. In addition to monthly premiums, make sure you can afford the yearly deductible costs. If a high deductible looks like it may be a burden, choose a plan with a slightly higher monthly premium and a lower deductible that may be easier to manage.
o Ask your employer to arrange meetings with health care insurance agents or brokers to answer any of your questions.
Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company providing individual and group voluntary insurance products that help deliver protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. The company’s voluntary insurance policies, which are designed to supplement major medical plans, pay policyholders directly for unexpected costs associated with a covered serious illness, injury or loss. In addition, the cash benefits can be used to help pay rent, gas, groceries, child care, or any other out-of-pocket expenses a worker may have. Aflac offers accident, dental, life, vision, cancer, hospital intensive care, and more voluntary insurance policies. In 2014, Fortune magazine included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 13th time, ranking the company number one in the life and health insurance category.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.