This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine. How to Plan for Less Stress
Choosing the right insurance is extremely important. We are so busy as working professionals that we breeze past all this insurance stuff without doing research or looking it over thoroughly. If you slow down and do a small amount of research now, you can save yourself later. I hate to admit this, but it has happened to me twice! I missed deadlines related to open enrollment or made the wrong choice in coverage. These mistakes cost me and my family! I could have been saved from this heartache if I had just taken 15 extra minutes to read something! OMG it is so frustrating!
What is Open Enrollment?
It is the time period when you can get insurance or a time when workers can review their employer-sponsored benefits offerings and choose the health insurance policies that best meet their financial and health care needs. For most U.S. companies, the season of fall marks open enrollment season.
Thorough research is critical in selecting the best benefits choices, and consumers who skip it may pay more or be faced with additional out of pocket expenses down the road.
Workers who don’t set aside time to research their insurance options often end up with inadequate health care protection for themselves and their families.
What you need to know about open enrollment?
Money is tight and it is very important to make the right choices with insurance. The wrong choice can be financially crippling for some. Combine this with stagnant raises and rising health care costs, workers are walking financial tightropes. In fact, more than half (55%) waste up to $750 annually with mistakes made during open enrollment with insurance benefits.
Although selecting the right health care benefits can be one of the most important decisions Americans will make all year, the 2015 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that many millennials do not take the time to read the fine print of the policies offered to them.
55% say they spend less than 30 minutes researching their benefits and 31% say they spend less than 15 minutes.
In fact, many would rather be doing almost anything else – even the tedious household chores we know we have to do but really don’t want to – rather than researching benefits.
- 45% would rather clean out their email inbox
- 26% would rather clean their toilet
- 23% would rather pull weeds
- 22% would rather do their taxes
- 13% would rather have a dental cavity filled
Millennials not taking into account important factors when choosing benefits
While employers are pushing more health care costs to employees, more than half (56%) of millennials are still choosing a major medical plan based on factors that may have little to do with the total cost of care they’re increasingly responsible for.
Health costs are a major aspect of workers’ financial exposure, and millennials are concerned about being able to afford the medical costs that are being pushed to them.
53% completely or strongly agree and 81% at least somewhat agree that even with their health insurance coverage their medical co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs are more than they can afford at times.
However, that doesn’t necessarily translate into how they choose a health insurance plan. The most important factors considered when selecting a major medical plan for the upcoming year:
33% say it’s the amount of the monthly premium
Despite the potentially high costs of co-insurance and deductibles, which can present significant risks to personal and family finances, few (18%) of millennials say the most important decision factor is the percentage of co-insurance they’ll pay for health care services and only 20% say it’s the amount of the annual deductible.
High-deductible health plans (HDHP) rising in popularity, but millennials are not necessarily satisfied with them. HDHPs are becoming a more common choice. Nearly half (48%) of millennials selected a major medical/health insurance plan with a high deductible of $1,000 or more last year, up from 28% who said the same in 2014. Yet, many millennials who chose a HDHP had second thoughts.
65% at least somewhat agree that they regret choosing a HDHP
69% at least somewhat agree that their HDHP was financially detrimental for themselves and/or their family
35% noted their health insurance gives them some of the protection they need, but a serious illness or accident would still create a financial burden for them
This may stem from a lack of understanding. More than half (59%) at least somewhat agree that they did not understand how a HDHP really works.
In addition, more than one third (35%) noted their health insurance gives them some of the protection they need, but a serious illness or accident would still create a financial burden for them.
Millennials who do choose a HDHP may want to encourage their employer to ensure they have other benefits options available. For instance, a health savings account and voluntary insurance can help pay for deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs to offset a possible financial burden.
Why is voluntary insurance worth considering?
Voluntary insurance is a key component of health care – especially for millennials who are often in denial about being diagnosed with a serious illness or a disability.
Voluntary insurance policies such as accident, critical illness and hospital help to protect millennials from high out-of-pocket costs that major medical insurance was never designed to cover.
Many pay cash benefits that can be used for groceries, child care, lodging or parking at the hospital.
To learn more about your options, visit Aflac and make sure so that you be smarter than I was by doing your research!
All the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.