During open enrollment, employees can drop their health insurance or add to it during a short period each year. It’s a chance for workers to make any changes they need to their health insurance. Unfortunately, a lot of employees fail to take advantage of this limited window. Make sure you skip these common errors when you enter your open enrollment period.

1. Miss the Enrollment Deadline

While there’s no set period for everyone’s open enrollment to occur, it usually happens in November and lasts two to four weeks. One of the worst mistakes an employee can make is to fail to make changes within this designated period.

If you miss the open enrollment deadline, you can’t make vital changes to your plan that could save you money and better represent your interests. Occasionally, you can change your plan outside of open enrollment, such as when you have a child or get married. But usually, you can’t change it no matter how much you want to.

When you miss the window, you have to wait nearly a year to adjust. That could cost thousands of dollars.

2. Automatically Re-Enrolling in Last Year’s Plan

Too many people don’t even consider changing their plans if they have held the same one for several years. They may feel scared of making a change, or they may not understand what plan is best suited to them.

While your current plan may have been fine for your needs, you also could have missed out on benefits from another plan that fits your situation better. Examine everything available to you and ask your human resources representative questions about what plan might meet your needs the best. Look at things like:

  • Deductibles
  • Co-payments
  • Prescription benefits
  • Out-of-pocket maximums

3. Choosing the Wrong Plan

Open enrollment offers a delicate balance. You don’t want a plan that under-insures you. This will lead to greater out-of-pocket costs and sky-high deductibles that take you all year to meet. You bet against getting sick when you choose a plan that doesn’t offer enough protection.

You may also run into over-insurance issues. This occurs when you choose a plan that you pay high premiums for but rarely use. People who are healthy and single probably don’t need to pick the plan with a low deductible.

Ask HR about interactive tools that can help you and your employees select the right plan. You can enter information about your situation and receive a recommendation based on your unique situation.

4. Ignoring the Health Savings Account Option

Those with a high-deductible plan can put money toward their future medical care by investing in a tax-free health savings account. You can only use this account toward medical expenses, though you must meet certain parameters for your health plan’s out-of-pocket maximum and deductible to qualify.

Open enrollment can be a confusing time. Staying aware of potential pitfalls can help you make the right decisions. Business owners should understand how to guide their employees in this area. Remember, you can also get complete business payroll assistance from BCM Payroll Services, Inc. Call 717-264-7374 to discuss our options.