Are you prepared for benefits open enrollment?

Open enrollment

Here’s some advice to help you prepare for open enrollment season and score a benefits package that’s ideal for your needs.

It’s open enrollment season, and if you receive benefits from your employer, you’re probably wading through stacks of benefits paperwork. Yet, not all employees feel armed with the knowledge to make these decisions, leading some to miss the benefits election deadline.

According to new CareerBuilder research, 12 percent of employees are not aware of all of the benefits their company has to offer, and 23 percent say they don’t fully understand all of the benefits provided by their organization. What’s more, almost 1 in 10 employees say they’ve missed benefits open enrollment at their company altogether.

Breaking it down by industry, employees in leisure and hospitality were the most likely to have missed open enrollment for benefits (17 percent), followed by sales (14 percent) and retail (10 percent).

Looking at results by age, 26 percent of workers ages 18-34 failed to enroll for benefits at their organization, compared with 22 percent of workers ages 35-plus.

Tips for navigating open enrollment
If your employer offers benefits, it’s crucial that you take open enrollment seriously to ensure you’re electing coverage that’s right for you and your family. Here’s some advice to help you prepare for open enrollment season and score a benefits package that’s ideal for your needs at this stage of your life:

  • Ask questions: Choosing benefits can be overwhelming and complex. Even the most simply laid-out plans can cause confusion if you’re not familiar with how benefits work. Tap your human resources team to review the plans with you one-on-one and ask as many questions as needed so you feel confident with your choices.
  • Take advantage of your company’s resources: Often HR will present benefits information in multiple ways during open enrollment. Are they hosting a webinar to review changes to benefits? Are they holding an open house where you can discuss the plans and ask questions? Have they housed all of the benefits information in one place for easy access? Determine which method of communication is the best for you and take advantage of it.
  • Don’t procrastinate: When you’re given a span of time within which to do something, it’s easy to keep pushing it off until the last minute. But the longer you postpone it, the higher the chances you’ll miss doing it all together. If you need some time to make your decisions, set a calendar reminder a few days before open enrollment ends so it doesn’t fall off your radar.
  • Review all benefits and perks: Open enrollment season is a good time to familiarize yourself with all of the benefits and perks your company has to offer, whether or not they apply to open enrollment. You may know your basic benefits package, but there could be some less-publicized perks you aren’t aware of, such as corporate discounts or wellness reimbursements. If you think you may be missing out, ask your HR rep for more information.

Sometimes great benefits prove more beneficial than a higher salary. Here’s how to find a balance between salary and perks.