Published by Trustmark Voluntary Benefits on August 6th, 2019

Before you know it, summer will fade into fall, which means kids going back to school, getting ready for the holidays… and open enrollment season. With open enrollment swiftly approaching for many, it’s wise to make sure that you’re on the right track for a smooth enrollment process. Whether you’ve participated in open enrollment for years or you’re brand new to the process, these tips will help you feel prepared and confident that you’re choosing the voluntary coverage that’s best for you.

1.    Review your current medical coverage 

Before diving into a new benefits enrollment season, take the time to understand what coverage you already have. Make note of your premium and out-of-pocket costs including your deductible, copays and coinsurance. Then, take a look at which medical services are covered, what those benefits look like and consider how often you’ve used those services recently. Digging up this information will help you decide how valuable your current coverage is and whether you need additional protection.

2.    Identify coverage gaps that you may need to fill

Once you’ve reviewed your policy and understand your current coverage, consider which areas could use more protection. If you have higher out-of-pocket costs, look into which voluntary benefits could be useful in covering those potential expenses. Perhaps your child recently joined a sports team, so you want to consider accident insurance. Maybe your family has a history of illness and you’ll want to look into critical illness insurance in case of a serious health event. Whatever the case may be, consider your current life situation when making choices about your coverage.  

3.    Know your budget

As with most purchases, you should know what you can afford before you buy. Fortunately, voluntary benefits are likely more affordable than you think. Review your current monthly expenses and see where there may be some wiggle room. If you have the ability to increase your protection or purchase new coverage, but are hesitant because you’re not sure if you’ll utilize your benefits, remember that making small monthly payments could pay off in the long run if it saves you from a high, unexpected medical bill in the future. 

4.    Research your company’s offerings and enrollment process

Once you have an idea of how much you can afford and where your coverage gaps are, take a look at the voluntary benefits your company has to offer. Carefully read through any materials that are available to you and note which benefits you may want to purchase as well as any questions you may have. In the meantime, if you’re not sure what your company’s enrollment process looks like, ask your HR department if there will be a benefits expert you can consult with or any other benefits learning sessions. This way, you can come fully prepared to have a successful enrollment.

Use these tips and the slower summer season as an opportunity to get a head start on open enrollment. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of scrambling in the fall to find your current policy information or worse, simply guessing what coverage you need. Do you research now to prepare for the best open enrollment season yet!