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A Beginner’s Guide To Open Enrollment

Until I began working at OneDigital, I had no prior experience with open enrollment.

In fact, as a naive college graduate, I hadn’t even heard the term before. At 23 years old, I thought I could easily breeze by on my dad's health insurance plan for another three years - until he recently retired. Now I’m on my own. This season will be the first time I’m enrolling in my own benefits package. I knew the day would eventually come, but I hoped it wouldn’t happen so soon. Last year, I witnessed busy days for our client services team during open enrollment, but this year, I find myself in the midst of seemingly endless questions and confusion. Should I sign up for an HSA or a POS? What does POS stand for? What happens if I reach my deductible? What’s an FSA?

We’ve all been there, right? Luckily, I have a whole team of professionals within reach to help navigate me through the wide world of benefits. However, if I didn't work a few steps away from a knowledgeable benefits advisor, I’m sure I would be completely lost, overwhelmed, and frightened.

If you’re experiencing your first open enrollment season, just like me, have no fear! Here are a few things I’ve learned as an open enrollment newbie:

  • Ask questions. When you’re deciding on your benefits package, don’t be afraid to ask questions. In my opinion, there are no dumb questions when it comes to determining your health benefits.
  • Do the math. Make sure you understand how much you’re contributing, and how much your benefits package will cost you each pay period.
  • Process the information. This influx of information can be confusing, so make sure you don’t make any decisions without fully understanding what you’re signing up for.
  • Look up terms and acronyms you’re unfamiliar with. Ask your friends and family what benefits package they’ve signed up for, and why? All of these facts can help you make an informed decision.
  • Your benefits advisor is your most trusted resource. Reach out to the experts to get the best advice and guidance along the way.Although this process was intimidating at first, when I broke it down into these essential pieces, it was much easier for me to pick a suitable plan. With these tips, hopefully your open enrollment experience (whether it's your first or last) will be just as rewarding.

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