Michael on November 15th, 2007
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It’s that time of the year again.

You: The ides of November?

No. Annual enrollment.

You: Almost as exciting.

As employees with company-provided benefits may recall, you get just one shot a year to make changes to your benefit choices (barring a major life event.) Over the next few postings, I’ll address a few annual enrollment considerations. Most important, make sure you actually spend a few minutes on this.

You: Why? Can’t I just leave everything the way it is now?

Actually, you might be able to. And, if so, it will only take a couple of minutes to be certain that inaction is truly the right financial strategy.

But, it’s also quite possible that doing nothing would be a huge mistake.

You: Huge?

Yes, according to today’s Fiscally Fit Column at the WSJ online. In fact, when it comes to health insurance “companies are asking workers to re-enroll if they want to remain in their current plans.”

You: So doing nothing could mean I would suddenly have no health insurance?

Yes, that’s now possible. And if this should happen to you, it’s likely you’d be SOL (that’s “Sorry, out of luck” for those wondering how the blog keeps it’s ‘G’ rating) for up to a year.

So take a few minutes to read the materials from HR to ensure you retain your current plan if that is your intention.

You: Should that be my intention?

That depends. Unfortunately, health insurance is simultaneously getting both more complicated and more costly. Plus, each company presents different options to its employees. Furthermore, if you’re in a committed relationship, your spouse or partner may have benefit options that the two of you will also need to consider. Ultimately, there’s no “one size fits all” option. But one way or another, you’ll want health insurance.

You: A rule of thumb?

Sure. Again, from today’s WSJ Online article, here’s a great summary of what you should be evaluating when you make decisions concerning your health insurance coverage:

“Picking the right insurance plan depends on your health and your stage in life. If you have children or a chronic medical condition, lean toward flexible plans with low deductibles. If you’re young, childless and generally healthy, you may be better off picking a plan that offers a lower premium in exchange for a high deductible, and then paying for out-of-pocket costs with a health savings account.”

But remember, you need to make the decision. Don’t have the decision made for you. You might not like the result.

You: A year is a long time to be unhappy.

Indeed. And it will feel even longer if you’re uninsured.

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