By: Revanche

Year end wrap-up

October 23, 2006

November means autumn leaves, nippy winds, brown and gold, and the start of the holiday season, but for us workin’ folks it also means: Open Enrollment!

So, do you need to update or change anything? Let’s take a look, shall we?

Medical: Were you happy with your HMO or PPO coverage this year? Do you need to make any status changes? As a single adult, I have nothing to change here. I could change from an HMO to a PPO but … I haven’t decided if I love or hate Kaiser yet. I don’t like the idea of running into my doctor at work though, it seems a little weird, which is a risk I run if I change from Kaiser to Blue Cross.
The monetary difference is: $41/month HMO versus $72/month PPO.

Vision: Was vision included in your medical? Do you need it to be? Can you add it if it’s not already included? Cause eyeglasses are expensive!! *glaring at the $200 frames ‘n’ lenses that I rarely, if ever, use*

Dental: This is just as important as having good medical coverage. Just a few problems can incur thousands of dollars worth of work and you do NOT want to be stuck bearing the full bill. Make sure you know what your copay and yearly deductible is. Make sure to schedule any end-of-the-year work soon because about a jillion people will realize [like me. That’s right, I’m a slacker!] that I’ve got to get my last checkup and cleaning done.

FSA allowance: Now’s a good time to evaluate whether or not you will be needing the same allowance for the upcoming calendar year: do you expect to schedule any major labwork, dental work, checkups? Will it all be routine copays and prescriptions? Do you regularly use prescription or non-prescription drugs throughout the year? Add it all up and make sure that your FSA covers at least your basics. That relieves your tax burden AND gives you an extra x% bonus on your money that would otherwise have been taxed before you got to spend it.
Dependents: If you have them, they are usually eligible under the FSA plan as well. I haven’t really gotten an answer about whether or not dependents, as defined by the IRS, count as FSA dependents but I resolve to be more pioneering and find out. Meanwhile, I bid thee, go forth and maximize!

Did I forget anything? I would touch on retirement accounts but I play with that year round so I don’t feel like it’s an open enrollment thing.

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