It’s that time of year again, open enrollment season! Aren’t you excited? No? I’m not either, but that doesn’t mean we can just slack off. Open enrollment is a big deal, and the decisions you make during this period will have major implications on your upcoming year. Which is why I can’t let you get through it without the sage wisdom of Paul Ashely from First Person Advisors. During his segment this week on The Pete the Planner Radio Show on 93 WIBC he offered up his advice for making the most of open enrollment this year. Use these 6 tips as a guide to making it through open enrollment like a champ.
1) First of all you need to take open enrollment seriously. It’s likely that every year you say, ‘I’ll just take what I had last year’, but due to legislative changes this won’t work. The Affordable Care Act will impact your healthcare plan this year so you need to pay attention to what’s going on.
2) In order to make smart healthcare decisions you need to know your own healthcare needs. A good place to start is to review your needs from this past year. Then look forward. Are you having a baby this year? Planning on having surgery? Combining this information will help you match up your needs with the appropriate coverage.
3) Moving forward into the year don’t forget to research procedures before you do them. The best way to save money on healthcare costs is to price shop before you have anything done. Prices vary widely by facility. Driving 20 minutes further could result in hundreds of dollars in savings.
4) Take advantage of tax breaks. Flexible Spending accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are two common types of tax advantage accounts you can use to save money pre-tax. By doing this you’ll save between 25-40% on the dollar.
5) Understand and take advantage of your company’s wellness benefits. If you work at a company that offers wellness programming, they do it for a reason. The programming is designed to make a you healthier, happier, and more productive employee. Since the benefit is mutual, employers often incentives employees to take advantage of this programming by offering monetary rewards. Take advantage of this!
6) Meet the deadlines. Don’t risk your health and financial security. Know the deadlines and meet them. Think of choosing your health plan like buying a car. It is a major purchase with many long-term implications. Do your research and make smart decisions.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.