Women are often the primary health care decision-makers for their families, but they are far from confident about their ability to pay for health care costs and choose the right insurance plan. According to the Aflac 2016 Open Enrollment Survey, more than 1 in 10 women say they live paycheck to paycheck and nearly half have less than $500 saved. The 2016 Aflac WorkForces Report also revealed that only 26 percent of working women feel prepared to pay the out-of-pocket expenses from an unexpected serious illness or accident.
Given women’s state of financial vulnerability, open enrollment for benefits selection can be challenging, especially due to rising health care expenses and high-deductible health plans that shift costs from insurers to policyholders. Three-quarters of women
say that they find reading about benefits options can be long, complicated or stressful, and 40 percent say their benefits enrollment process makes them feel frustrated, anxious or confused.
To be confident about their benefits selections, 69 percent of women say they need more information, help, money or time before their next open enrollment period. Doing a little homework before choosing a health insurance plan can give you peace of mind and save you money, because more than half of women estimate that they have wasted up to $750 because of mistakes they have made during open enrollment.
Here are four tips to make this year’s open enrollment process more successful:
1. Carefully review and compare benefits information. Many insurance plans may undergo significant changes every year. Understanding what your plan covers and what out-of-pocket costs you’ll have to pay helps cast a safety net against an unexpected illness or injury.
2. Calculate your annual health care costs by reviewing how much you spent last year on monthly premiums and the expenses your insurance didn’t cover. Those costs can add up if you have a high-deductible health plan.
3. Consider adding voluntary insurance to your plan for more financial protection. Accident, critical illness and hospital insurance plans help pay for what major medical insurance doesn’t, as well as other expenses that continue to roll in if you’re too ill or injured to work.
4. Ask questions of your employer’s human resources staff or insurance consultants. They can help you understand your benefits coverage and make the best decisions during open enrollment.
To learn more about choosing the right health benefits, visit Aflac.com.