VP of Benefits at Justworks
PSA: Open enrollment is officially here. And ICYDK, you only have until December 15th to sign up for coverage that starts next year. For all our Zillennial—and anyone who needs a new healthcare plan—girlies, this is your sign to register soon(er rather than later). Lucky for you, we chatted with Renee Orser (she/her), VP of Benefits at Justworks, to make the process a little less painful. We promise!
THE EASY(ISH) GUIDE TO OPEN ENROLLMENT:
1. Expand from your parents’ healthcare choices. The insurance plan your parents chose likely doesn’t make the most sense for you, as they are likely on a “family” plan, which considers the healthcare needs of multiple people.
2. Focus on your specific needs. Think about healthcare needs you’ll need over the upcoming year, and while there will always be unknowns, look at how you’ve consumed healthcare in previous years (ex: if you wear glasses and need to go to the eye doctor on a more frequent basis) as a starting point to make sure your coverage covers those basics.
3. Think about the total cost. Since this may be the first time in your life you’re paying for health insurance, consider the total cost—including premiums and cost of care. Willis Towers Watson estimates costs for employer coverage will go up by almost 7% this year, so keep in mind that price increases over time are also very common.
4. Consider a Health Spending Account (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), and/or Flex Spending Account (FSA). If your employer offers these options, consider them as a way to save money as they are tax-advantaged vehicles that can help you pay for your healthcare needs.
- HSAs are sort of like 401k plans for your healthcare needs. As you age and potentially add dependents to your plan, an HSA account can help fund your changing (and likely) increasing healthcare expenses.
- An HRA provides employees with tax-free reimbursements for qualified medical expenses up to a fixed dollar amount per year.
- With FSAs, always start small since if you don’t use the funds, you lose the funds. Consider starting with an amount if you have planned health purchases each year that you can plan for, like contact lenses.
5. Keep in mind key dates. Set calendar invites for yourself or reminders on your phone for all dates during open enrollment to avoid missing any deadlines. If you miss the deadline, you cannot make any changes to your health insurance plan choices unless you have a qualifying life event such as: having a baby, moving residences, or turning 26 (!!!).
6. Know the jargon. There’s a ton of jargon when it comes to health insurance, so make sure you understand terms like deductible, copay, and coinsurance. For more definitions, check out this health insurance glossary.
7. When in doubt, ask HR or go directly to your company’s health insurance provider. Your HR team and health insurance provider team are there to help you with any questions you may have, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!