Call Our Offices
Your Money.
Your Life.
Your Way.
article
Open Enrollment Season is Around the Corner
Reviewing your benefit choices to maximize what your employer offers
Shared by Strong Valley on November 20, 2020
Open Enrollment
Image of a stop watch for the in-brief section heading
IN BRIEF
Here's a quick look at what's in this article:

Open enrollment for employee benefits kicks off this month. While you plan your Thanksgiving menu, review your benefit choices. Benefits change this year like few years before.

Important Disclosure: Content on our website and in our newsletters is for informational purposes only. The information provided may (or may not) directly apply to your situation. We recommend that readers work directly with a professional advisor when making decisions in the context of their specific situation.

Open enrollment for employee benefits kicks off on November 1st. Before you plan your Thanksgiving menu, you should make the time to review your benefit choices.

Employee benefit experts expect benefits to change next year like few years before – given the rising costs of health care and the impact of COVID-19 on businesses this year. Even if little changed in your life in 2020 – and that’s probably unlikely – you should aim to maximize what your employer offers.

Here are a few pointers.

Medical

Even if you carry the same plan as in many past years, spend a few minutes evaluating which one is best for you and your family when you choose – especially High-Deductible Health Plans and traditional plans.

Switching from the traditional plan to a high-deductible option might save money if you don’t visit the doctor much. Perhaps too your spouse’s company now offers a better plan and you can switch the family coverage to the better alternative.

Improved employer plan descriptions lay out plans’ differences and costs and do that much better this year. Take advantage of their free help, online or in person.

Dental

Often you receive only one choice for dental coverage, but you might be surprised at how many people decline to pay the relatively small premium for this coverage. Even if young and cavity-free, you take care of your teeth now to potentially prevent large dental bills in retirement.

If nothing else, dental insurance provides a teeth-cleaning twice a year.

Vision

This benefit works great if you wear glasses or contacts and need regular eye exams. Those with perfect vision may opt out of this coverage.

Life Insurance

Most employers offer some basic life insurance, the coverage usually a multiple of your salary. If you are married, own a home or have kids, this basic coverage usually falls short.

Consider paying extra if possible, to increase life coverage through your employer. If that’s not an option, consider supplementing this minimal coverage with a term policy from an independent provider. These policies come with set duration limits on coverage and you decide whether to renew once the policy expires.

Remember that whatever life coverage your employer pays for vanishes if you leave that company.

Long-Term Disability

Standard coverage in this category usually pays 60% to 66% of your compensation if you become disabled and unable to work.

As this coverage often comes with a cap, if you are highly compensated, this insurance might also fall short to sustain your standard of living. Estimate your minimum to live on if you become unable to work and, if that number scares you, consider purchasing a supplemental policy.

Long-Term Care Insurance

This pays for assisted living, a nursing home or in-home care late in your life.

Even as our lifespans increase, long-term care premiums escalate. If your employer offers any coverage at a relatively inexpensive group rate, consider locking in some protection. Financial advisors normally recommend LTCI when you turn age 50 – getting it while you are young and healthy under an employer plan may still make sense.

Flexible Spending Account

This savings account reduces your taxable income and funds medical co-pays, orthodontist appointments and prescription drug orders, among other expenses.

Figure your out-of-pocket medical costs and sign up to set aside that amount, up to $3,550, pre-tax in an FSA and $7,100 for families. Remember that if you participate in an HDHP, you maintain a related health savings account and can only take advantage of a limited FSA.

Either way, pay for the most of out-of-pocket medical costs with pre-tax dollars.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

If you pay for daycare, after-school programs, or summer day camps for children under age 13 or for eldercare for a dependent parent, DCAs help you offset that cost with pre-tax dollars. Again, a working couple can set aside up to $5,000 from paychecks.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results or even estimates of actual returns a client may achieve. This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Opinions and estimates offered are subject to change without notice. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Please see other important disclosures related to StrongValley.com

Your turn – What would you like to know about Open Enrollment Season is Around the Corner?

Strong Valley wants to provide useful and meaningful information to our clients, to our professional network, and to the broader community of people we serve. We’d love to hear your questions about Open Enrollment Season is Around the Corner or about any other topics you care about. You can call our office directly, or use the contact form below to send us your questions and/or suggestions.  And if you found the information helpful or entertaining, we hope you'll share the Strong Valley story with others.

We love to hear your questions, ideas, and feedback!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Copyright © 2023 Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, LLC
Investment advice offered through Integrated Partners, doing business as Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, a registered investment advisor. The information on this website has not been approved or verified by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or by any state securities authority. Registration as an Investment Adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, LLC offers some securities through M.S. Howells & Co. Member FINRA/SIPC. M.S. Howells & Co. is not affiliated with Strong Valley Wealth & Pension.
The link you have selected is located on another server. The linked site contains information that has been created, published, maintained, or otherwise posted by institutions or organizations independent of this organization. We do not endorse, approve, certify, or control any linked websites, their sponsors, or any of their policies, activities, products, or services. We do not assume responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information contained therein. Visitors to any linked websites should not use or rely on the information contained therein until they have consulted with an independent financial professional. Please click “Continue to Link” to leave this website and proceed to the selected site.