The end of the year gives you a chance to adjust contributions and coverage for a range of benefits, including insurance coverage and savings accounts. It's also a good time of year to check in on your retirement contributions.
Autumn brings a slew of holidays—and open enrollment season for workplace benefits and coverage. Are you wondering, “What benefits should I enroll in?” Here’s what you need to know this year.
Changes required: None unless you need or want to. “Think of open enrollment as an opportunity to make decisions that affect your overall financial picture, rather than a checklist of action items,” says Stanley Poorman, a financial professional with Principal®.
Open enrollment offers you a chance to change (or keep) health, dental, and vision plans along with life insurance policies, and contribute to a health savings account or a flexible savings account.
Health insurance plans
“Benefit enrollment is a great time to do a side-by-side comparison and think long-term. Ask yourself two questions: What is the right amount of coverage to protect my loved ones? and What is the best way for me to get that coverage?” Poorman says.
An out of pocket (OOP) cost comparison should include premiums, co-pays and deductibles, OOP max, and prescriptions coverage.
A comparison between your plan and a spouse's plan should consider OOP costs, your family’s health and financial situation, and coverage for children (if you have or plan to have).
Dental and vision insurance
Use open enrollment to plan for likely health costs. Maybe the kids need braces, or you’re squinting harder than usual as you read this?
Health savings accounts (HSAs)
Learn more about HSAs and ways to save for the cost of health care.
|2024 HSA contribution limits:
|Age 55 or older||Catch-up contribution: $1,000|
|Employer HSA contribution||Not treated as taxable income, but it counts toward your annual contribution limit.|
There are lots of rules around HSAs, so visit the IRS website (PDF) to learn more.
Flexible spending accounts (FSA)
In an FSA, what you don’t use in the coming calendar year, you lose.
|FSA contribution limits:|
|Current existing limits||For 2024, a $3,050 limit per year for health care, and a dependent care limit of $5,000 per year|
|Employer limits||May be lower|
During open enrollment, there are a few things to consider about life insurance. First, you may be able to buy more coverage through your employer (called “voluntary” life insurance), with the premiums deducted from your paycheck.
If you lose or change jobs, you often lose employer-provided life insurance, but you can retain voluntary coverage and pay the premiums directly to the insurer.
One more reason to consider it? The younger you are, the cheaper life insurance is (generally).
More open enrollment benefit options to review
Your workplace may also offer more benefits that you can update during open enrollment.
“Buying more coverage outside the workplace means you’ll have disability insurance even if you change jobs, and you can increase your coverage as your income grows,” Poorman says. Here’s what to consider:
If you’re wondering if you have enough coverage, our disability income calculator helps you do the math.
Use these key questions to make sure you’re on track with your retirement savings.
Your workplace may offer a variety of options including childcare assistance, education assistance, or mental health benefits, sometimes called employee assistance programs (EAP). An EAP is a voluntary program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, and referrals for work or personal problems. It may also be available to other members of your household, depending on your plan.
For more details, check your employer’s intranet site, connect with human resources, or talk to the benefits administration department.