Thursday, September 20, 2012

Open Enrollment Tips

If you are one of the lucky employees who have a job and have health insurance soon you will be getting ready to participate in Open Enrollment.  Open Enrollment is an open benefits option for employees to make corrections or updates to their current health insurance benefits.  Health insurance companies are required to accept any changes or updates without questions or documentation of changes.  Health insurance benefits account for approximately 30% of an employee’s salary.
For those currently employed, you can make changes during your employers Open Enrollment which usually begins each year in October for:  prescription drugs, dental, health, flexible spending account, term life insurance, long-term care insurance and accidental death insurance but varies by employer.  Pick the options you know you will use.  Skip the ones you don’t need. 
To take full advantage of Open Enrollment, verify all of your information is accurate.  If you have benefits that will no longer be paid in 2012, ask your health plan provider if you can pay for the services using a Flexible Spending Account. Read all of the information provided to you prior to making any changes to make sure you pick the option that is best for you.

You may qualify for a health savings account (HSA) if your health insurance policy has a deductible of at least $1,200 for individual coverage or $2,400 for families.  Money is put in a pre-tax account which grows tax-deferred and can be used to pay for co-payments, deductibles, and other medical expenses. You can roll over the unused money each year and take the balance with you if you leave your job. Some employers contribute to employee HSAs. 

If you don’t qualify for a HSA you can sign up for a flexible spending account (FSA) which allows you to save money to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. In 2013, the maximum amount employees can contribute to a FSA will be $2,500 per year.  Your FSA contributions do not have to pay state and federal income taxes or Social Security payroll tax. The catch is you have to spend the remaining money by the end of the year or you lose the money.

1 comment:

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