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Rock your Employer's Benefits Enrollment

Tips to get the healthcare coverage you need

‘Tis the Season

Not for Christmas, of course. It’s benefits enrollment season, the time of year when you can change workplace benefits for the coming calendar year.

If you head into October feeling unprepared for those changes – or if you’re not sure what benefits your employer actually offers – we are here to help. Take control of your family’s benefits this year by making educated choices. Here are a few thoughts to begin:

*Assess your family’s upcoming needs. Think ahead to the coming year. Will you be welcoming a new baby? Needing a kindergarten eye exam? Putting braces on a teen? Each of those considerations – plus hundreds more – could affect which benefit plan will work best for you. This is also the perfect time to adjust any Flexible Spending Account contributions. Those could help you pay for the elective procedure you’ve been putting off, or the new eyeglasses your child will need.

*Review changes from last year. Perhaps you’re taking a pricey new medication and could use pre-tax dollars to pay for it. Maybe you’ve refinanced your mortgage and now have extra income to put toward retirement. There are plenty of things that could have changed since your last open enrollment period – it’s important to identify them so you can maximize your benefits for the coming year.

*Ask questions. We aren’t all benefits experts – but we all know one. Reach out to your company’s human resources team and ask for one-on-one guidance in reviewing your options. They can break down the big issues while you ask as many questions as you need.

*Start early. Know when your open enrollment ends, and schedule yourself to turn in completed paperwork a few days before that. Don’t procrastinate learning about your benefits – give yourself time to learn and evaluate before you need to decide.

*Don’t leave benefits on the table. If your company is offering a webinar to present options, make sure you attend. You might find it useful to hear about all your options at once. Plus, you might find out that you are entitled to perks that you didn’t know about, like reimbursement for the gym membership you are paying for anyway.

*Review your retirement contributions. Can you afford to increase your contributions? Are you getting the full match from your employer? Are you on track to save enough for retirement? Consult with a financial expert – that might be a service your employer offers for free – to discuss any necessary changes to your retirement savings in 2020.