Tis The Enrollment Season To Be Jolly

It’s the most wonderful time of year. I’m not talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday. It’s time to enroll for your employee benefits!  Excuse the sarcasm. Although CIGNA has made the enrollment process as painless as possible, much thought, planning, and energy is required to set yourself up and your family for the upcoming year. Some basics are pretty straightforward and really depends on personal preference like HMO versus PPO. Some things, however, can be down right stressful because you can’t make changes on the fly until next enrollment season unless you go through a major life event like getting married or having a baby.

Voluntary Term Life and Accident Insurance

Last year, since I am quite emotional and sensitive, I flew off the handle when I thought of getting additional life insurance for the first time. Who wants to be morbid and think about one’s demise? Before last year, I always declined additional insurance and just agreed to the company’s free basic minimal coverage.  With Baby Buck and a new home to think about, I bit the bullet and bought additional coverage. This year, a year older and wiser, I’m taking a more logical and practical approach. To assist in my decision-making, I ran through two additional insurance calculators.  I used my provider’s calculator and Bankrate.com for a second opinion. The questions varied but the outcome was about the same. These calculators are designed to help you track large expenses and give you an estimate of what you would need to properly handle them if tragedy struck. Here are some additional calculators if you want a third and fourth opinion.

Cigna Life Insurance Needs Calculator
Bankrate.com Insurance Calculator
Life Happens Life Insurance Needs Calculator
State Farm Life Insurance Calculator

Disability Insurance

I have never signed up for disability insurance. My mindset is if I get involved in a serious accident, it’ll be all or nothing.  Going further, if I did lose my ability to use the computer, hopefully my virtual assistant Siri can help with producing content using voice commands.

Am I being naive and irresponsible?

Flexible Spending Account (Medical and Dependent)

Another pain point is estimating your medical expenses for the upcoming year.  You can setup a flexible spending account and fund it with pre-tax money from your paycheck.  You will reduce your taxable income thus saving on taxes.  The big caveat is if you don’t use it all, you lose it so estimate wisely. I signed up and utilized a FSA during years where I planned a lot of dental work and when Baby Buck was born. I’m maxing out my dependent flexible spending account as I can claim Baby Buck’s preschool tuition. Here’s an extensive breakdown of eligible FSA expenses from ADP. Check with your HR Department if you have additional questions.

Final Thoughts

Like I said before, although it may not be as fun and glamorous as the holiday season, we shouldn’t look at enrollment with trepidation. It is a time to adjust for big life changes and to better use our hard earned income. It is similar to re-balancing your investment portfolio. It does take some time and effort, but after all, no one should care more about your benefits than you. Plus time is money, right?

How do you feel about enrollment season? Jolly or Bah-Hambug?

Stay Inspired!
Buck

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20 Responses

  1. Arlee Bird says:

    Since I never had any jobs with benefits of this nature it’s not something I’ve ever thought about. My wife’s union takes care of the things she has.

    I guess over the course of years I would have been wise to have thought about stuff like this more. You’re doing the right thing.

  2. krantcents says:

    I am going through the annual open enrollment now. I wish there were an option of no change. It would certainly make it easier.

  3. Untemplater says:

    My employer is behind on open enrollment this year. Fortunately I don’t think there are any major changes so I’m going to keep my plans the same. I do need to figure out how much to put into my flex spending account though.

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