By: Revanche

Open Enrollment is Open for Business!

August 13, 2011

Our open enrollment provider’s been beating the tribal drums for WEEKS.  There was this big run up to the open enrollment period with fancy brochures, posters, flyers, emails, and presentations.

It was exciting for the first few seconds except they wouldn’t let me log in when they first announced it. I have a short attention span for things that are routine these days.  Since they were just doing it up big for a two-week period when they would actually let you in, I was exhausted long before launch. I want in when you tell me about it, not three weeks later.

There are only two changes planned for the upcoming year: calculating my FSA contributions and upping my commuter benefits by about $15/month because I have to take the BART more than usual and it’s expensive. I’ll double check that I’m not getting screwed on medical/dental plans but nothing is changing with them that I saw on the changes/no changes comparison table.

And our possible upcoming marriage in a few months (civil, we’re thinking) would upend the changes anyway so I’m even less fussed.

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What you shouldn’t forget when Open Enrolling  

Medical:  Did anything change?  Do you need more coverage? Less coverage?  (uh, doubt it?) Can you afford your premiums and copays? Do you know what they are?

Dental: Same as above

Vision: Same as above

“Extras”

Flex Spending Account (FSA): Do you know approximately what you will spend next year?  Do a calculation of your copays, your medications (if any), any projected major procedures you can anticipate before you set your number.  It’s a little tricky because of the use-it-or-lose-it aspect – you don’t want to overestimate and lose any money by the end of the year but it’s rather annoying to find yourself just paying out of pocket as well.

Commuter Benefits: Do you use public transit and have the option to pay pre-tax?  Use it. Save yourself a bit of money and automate to boot.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): This rarely costs anything or requires enrollment. You just need to use it if you need it. They offer all kinds of stuff: counseling for personal, family and work-related concerns, legal and financial advice, online resources, health and wellness information.  You should at least check it out to see what might be there.

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I posted Stress Spending: Are your finances driven by emotion? at the Carnival of Personal Finance site today as well.

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