At the office, little strikes fear into the heart of employees like the annual open enrollment period for workplace benefits. It is a time of big decisions with significant financial impact.
As seen on WBIR, Knoxville’s NBC affiliate station.
WHAT EXACTLY IS “OPEN ENROLLMENT” FOR BENEFITS?
- In the U.S., open enrollment season is a period of time when employees may elect or change benefit options available through their employer.
- Examples: health, vision, dental, and life insurances, Flex Spending Account, Health Savings Account, etc.
- Employer and/or Employee paid benefits.
WHEN DO MOST COMPANIES HAVE OPEN ENROLLMENT?
- October/November: Most companies do this in the fall so that the new benefit elections take effect at the start of the new year.
- 2-4 weeks.
WHY IS OPEN ENROLLMENT SO IMPORTANT?
With most types of benefits once you elect an option you are bound to that option for an entire year unless you meet a few exceptions. The IRS defines these qualified events as:
These decisions have a significant financial impact so it’s important to weigh your options carefully. Ex: You’ll want to compare health insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and total out-of-pocket limits. Increase 401k contributions! (example: save a pay raise).
Ask for help: Human Resource staff, attend special meetings or benefits fairs!