Written by: Gilles Hudelot, Director of Education
When examining your healthcare options, you should always make sure to have as much information as possible. By understanding the plans available, you can make an informed decision to either keep your existing insurance or switch to a new policy. In either case, you should ensure that you make an open enrollment checklist to consider all the most important factors. In today’s guide, we will help you craft your own open enrollment checklist for 2023.
Look at Your Past & Future Medical Care
Many employers have multiple plan types, making it difficult to sort through all of the current options. Ideally, you want to narrow down the scope of your choices to make the process of enrolling in a plan a bit easier. To do this, first look at your preexisting conditions, medications, preferred doctors, planned operations, additional dependents, or pregnancies. This will help you see which plan has the best coverage based on both your past and future needs. Also remember to look into using your spouse or partner’s employer plan to see if it works better for you.
Examine Your Emergency Savings and Deductibles
The amount you have in savings as an emergency fund can influence the type of plan you choose, as you may be able to afford higher deductibles and low-premium plans if you have enough savings available. If you don’t have much in savings, you may not want a high deductible plan. Alternatively, if you do have savings, you might choose a higher deductible, lower premium plan since you have more room to pay medical costs upfront. You will also need to determine how much your employer contributes to your deductible before making a decision.
You may have emergency funds tucked away in a savings account, or you could have a Medical Savings Account (MSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to save money to pay for your healthcare costs and provide some tax benefits. Typically, MSAs maintain a “use it or lose it” structure. In other words, if you don’t spend the money, you’ve set aside in contributions for that year, you can’t carry those assets over to next year and you will lose the remaining balance. Alternatively, HSAs are limited to high-deductible insurance plans and may have to spend more to receive care but are more flexible because you don’t have to spend the money set aside in the account year to year. You can eventually rollover any unused funds into a retirement account. Lastly, an FSA gives you more flexibility to use your savings for things beyond medical expenses.
Coordinate With Your Spouse’s Insurance
The dates for open enrollment vary from one employer to another. It often depends on how quickly your employer gets the necessary info from insurance providers. If the dates between your employer and your spouse’s employer differ, you might have to make decisions before knowing what your spouse will be able to access. If you don’t make any choices, your employer will typically roll over your insurance from the previous year. However, you will want to pay attention to any potential changes to the costs, providers, and benefits that they use. We recommend checking your plan every year, but if there have been few or no changes, you likely don’t need to spend a lot of time assessing your insurance.
Download Your Carrier App
These days, most insurance providers offer mobile applications to pay bills, view account details, and reach out to customer support. Downloading the insurance provider apps and telemedicine apps can make your life easier by ensuring that both your insurance provider and your doctor are far more accessible. It may not be as useful for emergencies, but many of these apps have resources to help reduce costs or get preapproved for routine procedures.
Decide on Dental & Vision Care
Most people need some kind of dental coverage, but vision may not be as essential, especially if you are younger. However, as you get older, you will most likely want both vision and dental care. Once again, examine your past healthcare needs and think about what you might need in the near future to determine if dental and/or vision coverage are right for you.
In addition to those already listed, there are various additional factors to consider and things to remember when enrolling in a new insurance plan:
- Determine contributions to other tax-advantaged accounts (dependent care accounts, transportation savings accounts, etc.)
- Make sure that your beneficiary info is up to date
- Evaluate the life insurance and disability insurance offered by your employer
- Decide if you want employer-sponsored insurance or outside coverage
- Consider supplemental disability coverage
- Determine if you want to increase your 401k contributions based on employer matching, or if you want to use a Traditional or Roth IRA
- Update direct deposits to send some of your money to other places (savings accounts, pay down debts, etc.)
- Consider other elective services offered by your employer
- Remember that the new cost of living numbers are typically announced by late October or early November, adjusting retirement coverage limits and HSA limits for the following year
If you want to learn more about making an open enrollment checklist of 2023 and its impact on financial wellness, be sure to contact the experts at Mentoro today!