A lackadaisical approach to benefits enrollment could leave you short on coverage or end up costing you more than it should. Gathering information and making time to thoroughly consider your options and needs can help ensure you’re getting the best value from your employer’s benefits package. Approach this year’s open enrollment with these tips in mind.
Get the Most Out of Your Benefits Enrollment
(Family Features) A lackadaisical approach to benefits enrollment could leave you short on coverage or end up costing you more than it should. Gathering information and making time to thoroughly consider your options and needs can help ensure you’re getting the best value from your employer’s benefits package.
Approach this year’s open enrollment with these tips from the experts at Colonial Life in mind:
Take life changes into account. A major event like a birth or marriage makes you eligible to adjust your benefits between enrollment periods, but there are many other factors that may affect your coverage needs. For example, you may not bother with dental coverage for a newborn, but once that child has some teeth and is mobile, it’s a good idea to add coverage in the event a fall damages a tooth.
Be conscious of changes. It’s quite common to allow your benefits to renew automatically when the enrollment period rolls around. This can create problems as plans and coverages often change from year to year. Deductible amounts, office visit co-pays and even categories of coverage can shift from one year to the next. Even if there aren’t changes to the coverage, there may be a new pricing structure or additions to coverage that could benefit you.
Dedicate some time. When signing up for benefits for the first time, most people spend at least a little time reviewing each plan option. If you have your premiums deducted from your paycheck automatically, you probably don’t give a lot of thought to your benefits, especially if you’re relatively healthy. Open enrollment is the time to give them more than a passing thought.
A survey by Colonial Life showed 69% of employees spend less than 60 minutes learning about their benefits choices, but that limited time commitment can ultimately affect overall job satisfaction.
“This can be a huge problem for both employees and their employers, because a lack of engagement with the benefits program leads to lower morale and higher turnover,” said Steven Johnson, vice president of enrollment solutions at Colonial Life.
Instead of a cursory flip through the materials, dedicate some time to thoroughly review all the information and make notes about areas you have questions.
Discuss your options. Benefits can be complicated, and there are a lot of terms and jargon in the insurance world that can make it hard to understand exactly what your benefits will cover. That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down with a knowledgeable benefits counselor to discuss your family and personal financial situation.
Technology may be king for many aspects of life, but the survey found just 11% of employees name the internet as the place they turn to learn about benefits during enrollment each year. However, 76% of employees turn to humans including HR professionals, coworkers, family and friends.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for benefits, but a one-on-one counseling session can help simplify the entire benefits process. A private consultation may help you understand how each benefit election impacts your paycheck, as well as simplifying complex benefit concepts, answering your questions and walking you through the enrollment process.
Learn more about how to maximize your benefits at ColonialLife.com.
To gain a better understanding of your benefits, these definitions from HealthCare.gov can help you identify and recognize some common terms.
Benefits: The health care items or services covered under a health insurance plan.
Coinsurance: The percentage of costs of a covered health care service you pay (20%, for example) after you’ve paid your deductible.
Copayment: A fixed amount ($20, for example) you pay for a covered health care service after you’ve paid your deductible.
Deductible: The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay.
Flexible Spending Account: An arrangement through your employer that lets you pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses with tax-free dollars.
Health Savings Account: A type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses.
Network: The facilities, providers and suppliers your health insurer or plan has contracted with to provide health care services.
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While TV makes it seem as though everyone goes straight from high school into college and only enter the working world after getting a degree, most people actually enter the workforce around the completion of high school, taking whatever early work they can receive with no formal education or training. From there, people work up (if possible), or wind up only making lateral changes as they change jobs (leaving a cashier job at a clothing store for a cashier job at a pet store). Fortunately, there are careers that you can break into without a four-year degree that pay livable wages.
For those interested in criminal justice, there are many paths that can offer a satisfactory living with no degree and are not only police officers or related jobs. Positions such as police dispatch are often given the same city employment titles and benefits as the officers, but with a much safer environment with a more set schedule. Police stations and courts also need clerks and a variety of administrative roles filled.
Though there are highs and lows in the market, real estate prices only go up over the long-term. Because of this, there is a long term need for people familiar with this industry. In addition to general sales, house flipping shows have brought to many people’s attention that there is great money in buying and renovating properties. While the market has changed, house flipping can still be profitable. Neither sales, nor flipping, require a college degree; both can be learned through apprenticeship. Apartment complexes are often seeking roles in managing a large rental environment. You don’t have to own property to work in this field.
Beauty and Wellness
People love to pamper themselves and spend small fortunes to make themselves look better. While many jobs in this industry may require a diploma or certification, those are fairly quick to obtain rather than a BS degree. In addition to selling cosmetics (a system that is already established and often comes with a customer base), careers can include hair, nail and makeup artists, massage therapists, and dietitians. With enough knowledge of the industry, you could even go on to own your own salon or spa.
Completely changing the field, you work in may seem like starting from the beginning, but soft skills (such as customer service) are transferable. Starting new doesn’t mean starting at the bottom.
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Success can be defined in so many ways. But what does it really take to achieve it? Whether it’s financial success, personal life success, or any other type of success, all types of success are dependent on a few key influencing factors. Here are three things that you need in order to be successful in all areas of life.
According to Career Addict, the building blocks of success start with motivation. All of the opportunity in the world does not mean a thing if you are not internally motivated to be successful. People who are more driven to succeed will naturally have an easier time reaching all of their life's goals. With sufficient motivation, you will not give up at the first setback. Motivated people are able to push through roadblocks, manage their time more effectively, and boost their self-confidence as they reach goals along the way. While motivation is primarily an inherent characteristic, you can make yourself more motivated by setting clear goals and rewarding yourself for meeting them.
The cornerstone of success is a solid education. According to Daymond John’s Success Formula, education offers countless benefits, including increasing networking potential, connects you to mentors, helps you channel negative energy, and more. While many people associate education with formal schooling, it can actually come from a variety of outside sources. Internships, on the job training, and mentorships are all excellent ways to prepare yourself to be a success in life. Knowing what to do in a variety of situations will help you to present yourself in a positive way and increase your chances of becoming successful in everything that you do.
According to Self Love Beauty, the most successful people in life are those with a solid support system. It is important to surround yourself with people who encourage your efforts. Whether that support comes from family members, close friends, teachers, or bosses, leaning into your support system will help you to achieve all of your goals. Do not ever hesitate to ask for help when needed. Savvy leaders recognize the importance of relying on others as they work their way up to the top of their field. Lean on your people and then return the favor to them.
The journey to success should be fun. You should always be striving to be a better version of your current self. Focusing on improving your life in all areas will naturally make you a more successful person in all facets of life. Believe in yourself and you can do anything.
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