Why You Should Pay Attention to Open Enrollment Time

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By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC® Private Wealth Advisor

For many, this is open enrollment period, when they can make changes to health-related benefits. Before you default to your existing
slate of benefits, consider any potential financial advantages to making a few changes.

Finding cost-effective health insurance

Here are six key factors to keep in mind as you assess your health insurance options:

  1. If you have to pay for spousal coverage, is your spouse eligible for coverage under his or her own plan in a more cost-effective way?
  2. Have you explored your options under the Affordable Care Act? Even if your employer offers a health plan, you can still purchase insurance on an exchange instead. Visit healthcare.gov for more information.
  3. If you are considering a change in health plans, see if your key healthcare providers accept payment from the new insurance plan.
  4. If you are contemplating choosing a high deductible health plan to reduce your monthly premium, consider family health history to assess whether this is a risk worth taking.
  5. If you are enrolled or going to enroll in a high deductible health plan, look into a Health Savings Account (HSA), which provides a tax-advantaged way to pay out-ofpocket expenses for health care.
  6. If you have major expenses coming in the next year that aren’t covered by insurance (such as braces), consider setting money aside in a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account, typically tax deferrable up to $2,500). Dollars set aside are “use it or lose it” for that calendar year, unless your employer adopts a carryover provision.

Remember to keep track of the deadlines set forth by your company for open enrollment as they can sneak up on you. Also make certain that you’ve listed all family members who need to be included under your health coverage.

Bennett Whitlock, CRPC®, is a private wealth advisor and managing director with Whitlock Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Learn more at WhitlockWealth.com or call 703-492-7732.

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