Similar to most financial topics, benefit elections are not a one-size-fits-all recommendation. Open enrollment occurs at the end of each year and remains open for a month and a half. During this time, you can sign up for health insurance, flexible spending accounts (FSA) for health care and/or dependent care, health savings accounts (HSA), retirement plans, as well as other benefits. Be aware that employers often use the open enrollment period to make changes to their plans, so you may need to account for this when choosing your plan.
With that all said, it is common to feel overwhelmed when comparing and contrasting plans and trying to determine which option is best for you and your family.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you start the open enrollment process:
- Have my or my family’s needs changed over the last year?
- What are the changes to my plan, and are there any that benefit me and my situation?
- Are there changes to the providers?
- What insurance do I and/or my family actually need?
- How will my choice(s) affect my take-home pay?
Answering these questions can help start the process and give you some insight into what is essential for you. Next, there are some key considerations that may affect you as a physician.
Use this time to double-check your retirement plan contribution and ensure you are putting in what you think. Ensure you are contributing enough to meet any minimum requirements to receive a match from your employer. If you can, and it makes sense for your specific situation, you may want to take full advantage of your employer-based retirement plan by maxing it out each year.
Think about adjusting your HSA contribution to max out the 2023 allowable limit. The maximum HSA contribution limits for 2023 are $3,850 for self-only coverage and $7,750 for family coverage. And individuals aged 55 and over may contribute an extra $1,000 to their HSA.
Update your beneficiaries. When was the last time you updated your beneficiaries? If your marital status has changed or a new child has joined your family, you may need to account for these life changes. Your estate plan, retirement plan, investments, and life insurance are some of the most common areas where you may have designated a beneficiary.
Review the disability insurance options from your employer. It is crucial to ensure you are protecting your most important asset – your ability to earn an income. When looking at the disability insurance options, there are two considerations you may want to consider:
- What percentage of income will be replaced if you get sick or hurt?
- Is there any supplemental coverage available?
- If so, you may want to enroll
- If not, you may want to explore obtaining supplemental disability insurance on your own
Contemplate if you have enough life insurance. If you think you may want more life insurance, but due to certain factors, including age, it is cost prohibitive, try looking into your group insurance under your employer plan to see if it is an option for you.
Consider enrolling in identity theft protection. Often services like these are offered at discounted rates through your employers. If you feel the growing need to protect your information, this can be a cost-effective way to try it out.
Open enrollment will be here before you know it. And there are a lot of critical decisions to make in a short period of time. If you aren’t sure what to do, your financial advisor can walk through your specific situation to help determine which benefits elections best suit you and your family for the coming year.
Securities, investment advisory and financial planning services offered through qualified Registered Representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Supervisory office: 4350 Congress Street, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28209, (704) 557-9600. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC or its affiliated companies. CRN202510-3194816
Image credit: Shutterstock.com