The annual open enrollment period is when employees choose their workplace benefits for the next year. And since the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as Obamacare – it’s also when members of the public who don’t have access to health care through their employer can purchase or renew their health care plans via the government health care exchanges.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you renew your benefits this open enrollment season:
The Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment deadline is December 15
If you purchase your health insurance through the exchanges on HealthCare.gov, you must do so by this year’s deadline, December 15, 2017. Please go to HealthCare.gov for information, tips and to get local help.
The Medicare deadline is December 7
If you’re a senior who receives Medicare benefits you have until December 7, 2017 to sign up or change plans. Please go to www.Medicare.gov for more information and to sign up.
Understand your benefits
Many people simply choose the least expensive options during open enrollment and don’t make sure the plan is the best fit for them. For example, someone with high prescription drug costs would want to make sure that those drugs were covered – yet some plans require that the deductible is met before prescription drug costs are paid. Understanding what your benefits are and what’s covered can have an enormous impact on your personal – and financial – health.
More than health care
Open enrollment is about more than health insurance. Many employers offer a range of insurances and benefits during open enrollment. Common options include life insurance, disability insurance, legal services, identity theft protection and critical illness insurance. And some employers offer additional perks like discounted museum admission, education benefits or student loan forgiveness programs.
Don’t get overwhelmed
What’s the best way to make the most out of open enrollment? Take your time and do your homework. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options and simply want to be done with the process – but fully understanding your benefits when you enroll can help you manage your finances more effectively throughout the year.
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