How to Prepare for Your Open Enrollment Period

Jul 24, 2023 | Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is a critical time of the year. It’s the time of year when you, as an employee, have the opportunity to review, modify, or confirm your benefit selections for the coming year. You can buy health insurance, dental insurance, and other health coverage during this annual enrollment period.

You can also make changes to your contribution amounts. All eligible employees are given at least 30 days’ notice before open enrollment begins. This gives everyone time to look over their options and decide which ones they’d like to sign up for or decline.

Even if you decide you don’t want coverage, it’s still essential to waive coverage instead of completely disregarding the benefits.

As the period of open enrollment approaches, it’s the perfect time to get a head start on preparations. This is not just about ticking boxes and signing forms – it’s about securing your future, both financially and health-wise.

In this blog post, we’re going to guide you through vital steps to make sure you’re well-prepared for open enrollment for your employee benefits.

From understanding the terminology to comparing options and considering your unique needs, we’ll provide practical tips to ensure you make the most out of this opportunity.

Let’s embark on this journey toward informed decision-making and secure a healthy, financially sound year ahead!

Understand the Lingo

A recent survey from Lincoln Financial Group revealed that a majority of respondents (54%) said they would be more likely to enroll in additional employee benefits at work if they had a better understanding of what was available1 .

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the jargon associated with employee benefits and your health insurance company. Health insurance can be confusing, especially when going over new health plans.

Terms such as “out-of-pocket maximum,” “qualifying life events”, and “co-pay” can be daunting, but a basic understanding is crucial for making informed decisions.

Don’t hesitate to contact your plan administrator if you need further clarification on these terms.

Woman working on laptop online.

Review Your Current Health Plan

Take a detailed look at your current benefits package and health insurance plan. Is it meeting your needs effectively? Are there areas where you feel you’re paying too much or getting too little from your health plan?

Reflecting on your current plans can provide valuable insight into what changes you might want to make during the open enrollment period.

Consider Your Future Needs

Consider what the next year might bring for you in terms of health and financial needs. Are you planning to start a family? Do you have surgery scheduled? Are you considering furthering your education?

There might be benefits available to you that you might not know of that can help you in the future. For example, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can cover qualified medical expenses such as a prescription drug plan.

All these factors might influence the type of coverage and benefits you’ll want to select. You can craft the perfect health plan that will suit your future needs.

Compare the Options

Open enrollment isn’t just about renewing your current plan and health coverage. It’s an opportunity to explore and compare all the options available to you.

Take the time to read through the details of each plan and consider how they align with your needs for a smooth enrollment process. Look at the cost, coverage, in-network providers, and additional perks each plan offers.

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Seek Professional Advice

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking advice from a plan administrator. These professionals can help you navigate the complex world of employee benefits and might be able to offer insights you hadn’t considered.

They are available year-round to answer your questions, not just during open enrollment periods.

Make Your Selections Mindfully

Once you’ve done all your research, it’s time to make your decisions. Remember, the choices you make now will impact the next year of your life. So, choose them wisely and be sure that they truly reflect the unique needs and goals of you and your family.

Open enrollment is more than just an administrative task. It’s an opportunity to make proactive decisions that can have a positive impact on your financial and physical health for the coming year. This might involve health care, retirement contributions (which may be an employer sponsored plan), or additional perks like gym memberships or tuition assistance.

It’s essential to take this opportunity seriously, as the choices you make can substantially impact your financial and physical well-being throughout the year.

So, don’t just skim through the paperwork — take the time to understand your options and make informed choices that best meet your needs.

By understanding the terminology, reviewing your current plan, considering future needs, comparing options, and seeking professional advice, you can make decisions that truly work for you.

So, take a deep breath, and dive in. Your future self will thank you!


[1]:  Lincoln Financial, Wellness at Work Study 2022

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