Director Jewels: The Perks of Paying Attention at Open Enrollment

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Perks of Paying Attention at Open Enrollment




Sometimes, I wish there were a manual for being a grown-up. It would work like this: each year on your birthday, a letter would show up detailing all of the things you will need to take care of that year (taxes, auto renewals, insurance). It would give you specific instructions on how to accomplish everything on the list without running into any snags.

I guess if that were the case, we wouldn't have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes? And that's something I know all about!

The year that we were expecting Addie, our health insurance situation changed four times. Before that, I had no understanding of our health benefits or options, because we had always just made a quick choice and selected the plan that seemed the best. Once we were hit with so many changes in such a short time - while incurring medical bills since I was pregnant - I learned that it was important to actually put some time into figuring out which opens were best for us.

Was it a walk in the park making a health insurance coverage decision while being full-term in my pregnancy and also chasing a toddler around all day? Not necessarily - but it was worth it.

Our little family - right around the time of open enrollment in 2012!

We haven't had an insurance change in almost two years now, but I try to review our options before open enrollment comes around each year, to ensure that we are still making the best choice.

When we chose our health insurance plan through Andrew's employer, we were also given the opportunity to purchase dental insurance for our family. At first, I scoffed at getting a family dental plan - because our kids were so young, would they really need the coverage? I spent some time researching the options and found that it was not a great cost to have the additional benefit added. It turned out to be a very good thing that I had read it thoroughly, because we ended up absolutely needing that coverage for Addie's teeth earlier this year.

This baby gave me no indication that just over a year later, she would need oral surgery.

For close to six decades, Aflac has been committed to providing insurance policies that give policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. Worrying about insurance coverage should not be something to add on to a medical emergency - or even a routine procedure!

Aflac conducted an Open Enrollment survey this year and found that 41 percent of employees spent fifteen minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season. I'm sure we can all think of another big purchase that we would never dedicate as little decision-making time to - like a car, a computer, or even a vacation. Most workers also have no idea what is covered by their insurance plan - I have been guilty of that multiple times. You can read more about the open enrollment survey in this year's Aflac WorkForces Report.

We've made a family decision to be on top of our insurance this year and have already started talking about our options - with open enrollment just around the corner, it's definitely not too early to start a discussion and review what your policy covers! When you're reviewing health insurance options, make sure that you take the time to look up things you don't understand - I was so confused when I first tried to wrap my head around deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, coinsurance, and other similar terms. It took me awhile, but I think I understand it now - and that makes for far less stress!

Have you ever made a poor choice at open enrollment that you regretted throughout the year? Take the time to be prepared this year - and you can consider this note from me your "grown-up manual" entry of the day.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

44 comments:

  1. I agree with how important this is. Every year we take a long look at our options and our life circumstances.

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  2. We are pretty stuck with what my husband comes home with, Thank goodness his company chooses well. We have some Aflac coverage,

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    1. I'm glad that you have good options, even if you don't get to choose them yourself!

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  3. we were able to sign up for great benefits this year. Supplemental would be a great addition though

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  4. Where do I sign up for that birthday letter? I am constantly forgetting things like paying my car registration, renewing credentials, etc. Then I have to overnight things or pay late fees. Yuck.

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    1. I hate late fees! I never had ANY until after I had kids. Now my mind is just gone.

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  5. I hate picking insurance options! I usually ask the hubs to take care of that stuff.

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    1. It is not my favorite task, either - it is super important, though!

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  6. Well, thanks to Obamacare my husbands company would have been fined millions of dollars for even offering the plan we had because it was too good...even though we had to pay for it. Ridiculous

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  7. I am so grateful that we have amazing coverage through my husband's work as I would surely feel overwhelmed if I had to research our options. There is soooo much to think about!

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  8. We are coming up on open enrollment at both my job and the hubby's. This year we have to decide whose plans to go with. It's all pretty confusing.

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    1. I know more about it now than I did a few years ago, but I'm still very often confused.

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  9. You never know when you will need insurance. You definitely showed that!

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  10. We are guilt of not reviewing our options during open enrollment period. However, I've heard lots of great things about A flavor & why it's a must.

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    1. It's hard for me to think of something until it's actually DUE.

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  11. I loathe this time of year. We just got the packet from my husband's employer and now that I think about it, I'm not sure about AFLAC off to do some research.

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    1. We haven't gotten our packet yet....it's always a reminder if I haven't started the process yet!

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  12. Our plans haven't changed for a few years but this year we will be changing it due to my husbands health condition. I've already been thinking about it and what I need to make sure it covers before we get to open enrollment. I don't want to make any mistakes about it.

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  13. a book or letter to yourself every year on all the things you need to do would be so helpful. Sorry you had to go through surgery for your little baby. I had to do that with three of my kids within a 3 month period. (not teeth but everything else)

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    1. Waiting while your baby has surgery is literally the worst thing I have experienced in my life so far.

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  14. My husband's employer doesn't have the best insurance. We pay ALOT out of pocket. I think I need to look at other options outside the company.

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  15. Such a good life lesson to learn early! Ya never know and you don't want to be stuck!

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  16. Making a smart choice can save big $$$

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  17. I need to reevaluate my insurance. I have a sinking feeling I am not as well prepared as I should be.

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  18. We almost joined AFLAC a few years ago. I remember regretting not signing up later in that year because we had a few illnesses between us and missed work.

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  19. I need to look more into my insurance. You have a cutie.

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  20. I usually let my husband handle this, but like you, our options have changed a few times, which has affected us greatly. Now, I'm swamped with medical bills - everything between emergency care to dental.

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  21. I'm surprisingly content with Tri-care (Militaries coverage) but I pray we all stay healthy and only need them for preventative maintenance/yearly checkups. The one huge perk I can speak about Tri-care is any emergency room visit is no cost and no co-pays. I've used BlueCross and Aetna and they were not even close to offerings. There has to be some perk to being military...

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    1. Oh, no cost and no co-pays for ER would definitely be nice!

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  22. I wish there were a "How to Be a Grown-Up" manual too. Keeping on top of insurance coverage in all it's forms is a wonderful idea.

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    1. It would be great to just have everything all spelled out for us.

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