As the year draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about what your health care plan is going to look like next year. For many employer sponsored health care plans, open enrollment time is approaching (and may even be upon you). That means it’s time for you to take a look at your health care plan and determine what next year’s health plan should look like.
How Is Your Current Plan Working for You?
The first thing you need to do is figure out how well your current health care plan is working for you. Do you have enough coverage? Are you expecting changes to your household (such as a new baby)? Perhaps you have too much coverage. Are you paying for things you don’t need? We recently dropped maternity coverage from our health care plan because we’re not planning on having any more kids. Take a look at your current plan, and decide whether or not your coverage needs to be adjusted. Don’t just keep with the same plan because you’ve had it for years; audit your health care needs, and make sure your plan covers them.
Cost: Is It Time to Switch to a HSA?
Chances are, your health plan premium is slated to increase. Not only are health premiums going up, but employers now expect their employees to pick up more of the tab. As a result, it might be time to figure out how to rein in costs. One way to do that is to consider raising your deductible. A high deductible plan will cost you less each month. The trade off, though, is that you will pay more out of pocket expenses. You can use a tax advantaged Health Savings Account to help you save up for these out of pocket expenses. The money is yours, rather than going to the health insurance company, so that can be a bonus.
However, before you make the switch to such a plan, it is important to understand that a HSA isn’t for everyone. For those who have chronic problems, and for those who use health care services frequently, it can be more expensive to switch. Make sure you run the numbers before you make a decision.
You usually have a period of a few weeks during open enrollment to evaluate your options and decide what to do about your plan. It’s a good idea to use this time to make sure that your health care plan provides you with the best value.