It’s that time of year again! Yes, the holiday season is here, but it’s also open enrollment season. That means it’s the time of year where you review your employee health benefits and make changes, or keep things just as they are if they are working for you. While it may seem daunting to take the time to review your health plan, it is important to make sure you are getting the most out of your health benefits, and possibly even save yourself some money.
Here are five cost-savings tips to consider when reviewing your employee health benefits during open enrollment season:
Are you on a low-deductible plan? If you are in good health you may be able to save some money in the long run by switching to a high-deductible plan with lower monthly premiums. Research your options and decide what would work best for you and your family if they are covered under your insurance. If you decide to go with a higher deductible plan, check if your employer offers a Health Savings Account (HSA) to offset paying for health costs. A HSA gives you a triple tax break: your contributions are sheltered from income taxes, the money grows tax-deferred, and the funds can be withdrawn tax-free to cover medical expenses.
If your employer doesn’t offer a HSA, check if a Flex Spending Account (FSA) is offered as a benefit. A FSA is somewhat similar to a HSA—it is a special account you put money into that you use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. With FSAs, though, you can typically also use the funds to pay for child care expenses and before- and after-school programs for dependents under age 13. This can amount to big tax savings for those who pay for these services for their dependents.
Finding a good doctor can be hard—one that you are comfortable with and that is convenient to your home or office for appointments, but using out-of-network doctors can be costly. Do some research. Talk to friends and colleagues, and ask for referrals. Switching your primary care and specialty care physicians to ones that are in-network will likely save money on those doctor visits.
What’s that saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Or in this case, maybe a pound of cash. Most health plans cover one preventive visit or annual check-up free of charge. If you aren’t taking advantage of this, you should – not only for the free visit, but also to address any health issues that could put you at risk and result in more costly treatment if left undiagnosed.
Many insurance plans now offer free 24-hour nurse-staffed advice lines. If you have a minor health issue and are not sure you need to see a doctor, take advantage of this free service. Getting professional advice from a nurse may save you the trouble (and cost) of scheduling an appointment or heading to an urgent care facility. Check the details of your health coverage to see if this service is offered.
Having an emergency fund will keep you from having to use your credit card and building up unnecessary debt to cover an unexpected medical expense. It will also save you the stress of wondering whether you can afford a medical expense should a health problem arise.
Did you know those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully? Let America Saves help you reach your savings and debt reduction goals. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. That’s what our pledge is all about. America Saves will keep you motivated with periodic information, advice, tips, and reminders sent by email or text message to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.
Open enrollment season is here! 5 things you should consider when assessing your benefits plan >> http://bit.ly/2yQrKgA