Employee Benefits Packages & Plan Design
  • Tools & Best Practices

3 Reasons Why You Should Pay More Attention to Your Benefit Decisions

Do you spend more time researching what smartphone to buy next, or researching which employer-sponsored benefits best match your needs? Most people would probably say smartphone. However, the amount and type of coverage you select with your benefits has a much more significant impact on your overall health—physical, financial and mental.

The next opportunity you have to review and select your benefits at work, it's well worth it to take the time to really consider which options make the most sense for you.

Here's why:

Your benefit and coverage needs change.

It's rare that someone visits the doctor or dentist the same number of times year after year. And even if you don't go at all, the coverage and costs associated with a company-sponsored health, dental or vision plan tend to change from year to year.

That's why you have an opportunity every year to select or change your benefits, and it's important that you take advantage of that time to evaluate your current coverage needs and make sure that you're neither over- or under-insured. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Has my health changed since the previous year?
  • Am I expecting a significant medical event?
  • Is a PPO plan still right for me, or is my employer's new high-deductible health plan (HDHP) a more cost-effective option?

You should also take time to evaluate your benefits and coverage needs during any major life change, such as a marriage, birth of a child or even a divorce. 

Benefits are your safety net... both now and in the long run.

Sometimes we forego certain benefits just to keep more money in our paycheck. For example, if you enroll in an HDHP, you may decide that you don't want to contribute to the health savings account (HSA) that likely accompanies it.

But building up that HSA could ultimately provide vital protection for your paycheck when you face a major medical expense, or it could grow into a substantial nest egg for health care after you retire. And since HSA contributions are pre-tax, you save more by putting your money in that account as opposed to a traditional savings account.

Supplemental benefits like accident, hospital indemnity and disability (short or long-term) insurance can provide additional income protection for just a few dollars per paycheck. It's worth at least evaluating how your financial situation would be impacted if you experience an unforeseen incident that hinders your ability to go to work. 

Benefits are part of your total compensation.

Believe it or not, employers are focused now more than ever on employee retention, as unemployment hits all-time lows. That means keeping you happy and healthy is a priority.

Sometimes we don't see past the premiums coming out of our paychecks to realize how much our employer is really investing in our total well-being, and how much the benefits they offer can increase our overall compensation.

Many employers are starting think outside the box, offering benefits and perks that address an increasingly wide range of potential needs. Voluntary benefits and specialty products like pet insurance, identity theft protection, and home and auto insurance are now showing up in employee benefit packages. Even better, these products are available year-round, so you have the opportunity to take advantage of them outside of your company's annual open enrollment period. 

Does your employer offer a simple way to enroll, access and learn about your benefits? Recommend Benefitfocus, so you and your co-workers can better connect with the benefits you need during the moments that matter most. Learn more here.