Here’s how to get the most out of your open signup

The open reception season continues.

With millions of employees re-evaluating their jobs or considering change, employer-sponsored benefits will become an even more important factor in the run-up to 2022.

About 157 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored health insurance, and yet, before the Covid-19 pandemic, many people spent very little time reviewing their workplace health care plan during the open enrollment period.

Now, amid the ongoing public health crisis, more and more people are suffering financial and mental losses after more than a year of working from home. And they take a closer look at what their employer offers in terms of support.

Usually, open registration lasts until early December. Here are a few things to look out for before doing this:

1. Health insurance

First, think about how much your health insurance is costing you now that premiums and deductions are changing.

The annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance – the amount spent annually on insurance, often divided by 12 monthly payments – would be approximately 3% lower in 2022, after taking into account the subsidies provided for American Rescue Plan Act, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

However, more workers have a deductible – the amount you pay before insurance kicks in – and that deductible grows. In 2020, the average one-time deductible was $ 1,945, roughly double what it was a decade ago.

“If you buy a plan, the obvious thing is a premium, but what you really need to focus on is out-of-pocket payments,” said Lisa Loch, president of individual and family plans at Cigna.

“Think about how you are going to consume medical services,” she said. “If you’re just going to get a check-up or have a chronic illness, look not only at your premium but also your deductible before your health plan starts covering costs.”

2. Medical savings accounts

One way to help with health care spending is to use tax-free accounts for medical expenses, such as medical savings accounts or flexible expense accounts.

In both cases, you use the pre-tax money to cover personal expenses, including doctor visits and pre-tax drugs.

To be able to use the HSA, you must be enrolled in a so-called high deductible health plan or HDHP. The contributions then rise on a tax-free basis and any money you unused can carry over from year to year.

In 2022, employees and employers can contribute up to a total of $ 3,650 for personal insurance and up to $ 7,300 for family insurance.

“Check to see if your employer offers a flat contribution or matching funds and try to maximize those contributions throughout the year,” said Dan Keedy, TIAA’s chief financial planning strategist.

“Almost anyone can go and find savings or lost profits.”

In addition, HSA rescuers who have funds must invest at least some of their money to keep pace with or beat health inflation, Kidi said.

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The FSA Healthcare has lower contribution limits of $ 2,750 for 2021, but you also don’t need to have a high deductible plan to be eligible – in fact, you don’t need health insurance at all. subscribe to one

There is also the FSA for Dependent Care, which allows employees to pay for eligible child care costs using pre-tax funds.

American Rescue Plan increased the FSA dependents cap for 2021 from $ 5,000 to $ 10,500. While companies are not required to accept the new FSA restrictions, employees should actively ask about it to make the most of any child care assistance available.

Generally, you must use the money before the end of the year, otherwise you will lose it, although legislation that came into force late last year may also allow you to roll over any unused funds from 2021 to 2022 for use at any time in the next year if your company has chosen.

3. Life insurance

4. Disability insurance

Choreographer | iStock | Getty Images

Disability insurance is often the most overlooked employee benefit. These plans can help replace part of your paycheck if you get sick or injured and cannot work.

There are two main types: short-term disability usually replaces 60% to 70% of your base salary, and premiums are often paid by your employer. Long-term disability, which usually occurs after three or six months, usually replaces 40% to 60% of your income.

According to Unum, more than 55% of adults do not cover their income with disability insurance. Seven out of 10 baby boomers also refuse such coverage, even though they are more likely to need it.

“If your employer offers something, you should think about it,” Kidi said.

5. Wellness resources

Before the coronavirus crisis, Americans rarely turned to their company for help with stressors at work and in their personal lives.

But, whether it be a response to a pandemic or the threat of losing employees during Great retirement, companies now offer many benefits for financial well-being.

This year 46% of employers at Bank of America Workplace Benefits Report said they offer programs, up from 40% in 2020. The finance company surveyed a national sample of 1,363 full-time employees.

Some of the wellness initiatives available this year include financial coaching, stress management classes, health web resources, and even gym discounts.

There may also be tuition assistance, student loan repayment programs, back-up childcare, tutoring services for older children, and scholarships for continuing education programs and camps, which can go a long way towards improving long-term well-being.

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