It’s estimated that more than 150 million Americans rely on healthcare coverage offered by their employer. And being that tens of millions of Americans are now out of work thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession, employer-offered healthcare should certainly not be taken for granted during this Open Enrollment period. For many, the Open Enrollment period begins either in late October or early November and runs for a couple of weeks. Some employers may even run the program through early December. For now at least, Americans can also enroll into Affordable Care Act health plans.
So with Open Enrollment season more important this year than ever, it’s worth offering some advice to help Americans get the most out of any offered healthcare plans. Here’s a closer look:
Consider a Health or Flexible Savings Account
With deductibles and co-pays on the rise, one of the best ways to offset out-of-pocket medical costs is to take advantage of either a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Savings Account (FSA). While both types of accounts have their differences, they allow you to use pre-tax dollars to help cover the likes of co-pays, prescriptions, deductibles and other approved costs. Health Savings Accounts are usually offered with high-deductible plans, and what’s nice about these accounts is that your money carries over from year to year. Flexible Spending Accounts, conversely, are often offered with lower deductible health plans. These accounts only allow you to carry over a certain amount from year to year. If your employer offers either an HSA or FSA, there’s also a good chance that it will contribute to the account.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to just how important life insurance really is. And though employers may offer some sort of life insurance, many also offer the opportunity to purchase more of it during the Open Enrollment period. Generally speaking, you want to try to have a life insurance policy that offers up to 10 times your salary in an effort to ensure adequate coverage. It often makes sense to take out some sort of additional policy through your employer, especially if there’s also the opportunity to cover your spouse and/or any children if the cost to do so is affordable.
Worried about becoming sick or injured and therefore unable to work? Don’t overlook disability insurance, which are plans that can help support you financially with at least a portion of your regular paycheck should you be unable to work for a certain period of time. Though more than half of all American workers don’t take advantage of either short-term or long-term disability coverage, it could be a more attractive option this Open Enrollment period with still so many uncertainties out there regarding the coronavirus and the impact it has on so many people.