It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not for turkey or presents. Open enrollment is upon us, and it’s one of the most important times of the year for employees. As health care costs continue to rise, making a good decision during open enrollment can help you save money. Below are some tips on making the most of this year’s open enrollment.

  1. Was last year’s plan choice the right one for your family? Understanding what worked well this year and what left you surprised can help you determine what adjustments you may need to make in your benefit selections for next year. Employees should start by reviewing how much they’ve spent out-of-pocket for medical, prescription, dental, and vision costs and number of doctor visits. If you are participating in a flexible spending account or health savings account, you may need to re-evaluate your contribution levels based on actual as well as anticipated expenses. Another important decision for open enrollment is whether you are expecting any life changes during the plan year, such as an addition to the family or a new medical condition, that may affect health care expenses. 
  1. Make sure you look at all of your options. Maybe your spouse has access to really good medical benefits, while your employer offers excellent voluntary options. It’s important to make sure you look at all of the options available to you and pick the best coverage for your family. Life insurance, disability, legal services, critical illness, and identity theft protection are just a few plans that most employers offer at a discounted rate through a company plan. Some employers also offer additional benefits in the form of tuition reimbursement, wellness incentives, and 401(k) match to help employees save money. 
  1. Use all the tools available. Employees have resources available internally and externally to help guide their plan design choices. If your employer has a benefit administration system, make sure you use all of the tools to help decide total medical costs for the year, picking the right plan design, etc. Carriers such as Anthem, Cigna, and UHC offer their own tools that allow you to make the right choice for your family’s needs by showing cost estimates for treatment, providing support resources to help improve your health, and offering programs to help you keep healthy and motivated. 
  1. Don’t overlook communications. It’s a busy time of year for everyone. Make sure you don’t miss the communications about open enrollment, deadlines and changes for your plans. Your carriers, like Anthem, will be sending a lot of letters your way. Your employer will be sending out emails and flyers regarding important dates. Make sure you’re paying attention so you don’t miss out on deadlines and your benefits. This is that one time a year you’re eligible to make changes and missing that window could cost you a lot of money. 

Open enrollment doesn’t have to be a stressful and confusing process. Being prepared with questions and understanding your benefits are key to moving through the process as effectively and efficiently as possible. Reach out to your HR team, benefits team or call center to help you navigate through the scenarios that affect your family.