One of the workplace's most dreaded annual traditions is nearly upon us.
For most employees, the fall brings open enrollment season. That's when our bosses hand out fat packets of important but daunting information about health coverage for a new year. It typically includes cringe-inducing details about higher premiums, and this fall's edition will, too. It usually means making confusing choices.
And there's a new twist this year: The federal health-care overhaul brought some positive changes for consumers, such as fully covered preventive care, the end of lifetime limits and expanded coverage for adult children. The bad news is that the changes, and more to come, are contributing to rising costs and will require consumers to play a more active role in their coverage and wellness.
"Throwing the open enrollment kit on the desk and not looking at it isn't a viable option," said Steve Graybill, a senior benefits consultant with Mercer in Charlotte. "Look at your choices and understand what you're buying."
It's wise advice that experts repeat every year, but it's challenging for many workers to sort out what's new, what's relevant to their needs and other issues.
To the right is some advice on what you need to know as the open enrollment season arrives.