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Your Open Enrollment Shopping List

In a few short weeks, open enrollment will be upon us, and with it, an encyclopedia of information on 2015 employer sponsored benefit opportunities. Health care will occupy many pages of this vast document. Whether the volume of this information will make it easier to understand remains to be seen, but it is critical that you make a list of what to review for your and your family’s situation. It is unlikely that the health care offering will be exactly the same as 2014 so you should look carefully and not automatically assume that you elect the same health benefits as last year.

Assess your and your dependents needs. Review how much you’ve spent in the past year in out-of-pocket expenses, the cost of routine prescriptions and the number of doctor visits you and your family have had in the past year. Also evaluate any life decisions that may impact your choice of health insurance: did anyone develop a new medical condition? Thinking about adding to your family?

Research the provider network of available plans. There have been many changes in physician and hospital networks. Your health plan options may offer a vastly different provider combination than in the past. You should examine the cost impact and quality of different providers when selecting your new health plan.

Establish the best source of coverage for your dependents. If your spouse or adult children have access to health coverage elsewhere, it may be more cost effective for them to enroll in this coverage. Your student dependents can explore health insurance offered by a college or university to determine if enrolling in these plans is a viable and cost effective alternative.

Use health and wellness programs to your advantage. Many employers now offer a wide variety of health and wellness programs including health assessments, weight loss and health coaching programs. Employers often offer a financial incentive for your participation in these company sponsored wellness plans.

Does a CDHP makes sense for me? Consumer driven health plans are offered by most employers, and in fact, may be the only plan available at a workplace. Premiums are less, however deductibles are higher. If you participate in a CDHP, you are eligible to establish a Health Savings Account (HSA). HSAs allow you to contribute up to $3350 as an individual or $6650 for a family in 2015. Your contributions may be made on a pre-tax basis and used to pay unreimbursed expenses or accumulated for the future.

Although there may seem to be too much information to review, spending the time to evaluate your needs and compare them to plans offered is important. Your health care election will certainly affect your 2015 benefits.

For additional information, contact EAB HealthWorks.