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The 2012 Open Enrollment Survey of the Aflac WorkForces Report Reveals Few Workers Feel Sure About Their Insurance Plans
I stopped being covered under my parents' insurance plan when I lost my status as a full-time student after college. That was over 15 years ago. I thought the idea of choosing an insurance plan was daunting back then, but choosing a plan as a single adult is nothing compared to making a choice that will affect a family of five. Like most people, we choose a plan, hope for the best, and then continue on "autopilot" from there. What does that mean? It means not taking advantage of the open enrollment period to reevaluate our needs. Instead, we just allow the auto-renewal of the same plan to go through year after year. According to the 2012 Open Enrollment Survey of the Aflac WorkForces Report, astonishingly, up to 89% of employees do what we do.
Like many people, my husband and I do not feel as secure as we should. At any given moment, we could have a major medical emergency and we will most likely not be prepared to pay the upfront costs, which would include an emergency room co-payment, a deductible, and whatever percentage of the hospital stay and treatment the insurance company does not cover. We are just not in a financial position to have a ton of back-up funds in savings. That is why I have brought up the topic of taking advantage of my husband's employer's flexible spending plan. It is a voluntary benefit that would allow us to save money for emergencies, such as unexpected hospital stays, something we went through less than a year ago when a tiny little bump that looked like a spider bite on my husband's leg turned into a major infection that required hospitalization and surgery.
Another voluntary benefit that might make families like ours feel more "covered" is short-term disability. The first time I ever opted in for short-term disability coverage, I ended up needing it. I had been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which was being monitored by my doctors. When I became pregnant for the first time, my thyroid levels skyrocketed, causing me to feel so weak that I could not stand up for more than 5 minutes at a time. This made it impossible for me to do my job, but thankfully I was covered for several weeks. Nobody could have predicted that I would actually need to use my short-term disability coverage.
If you have never gone through similar experiences, then you are extremely lucky. Aflac urges employers to offer such voluntary benefits to their employees. These benefits show that a company cares about its employees and their families. They also recommend that employers offer benefits education to their employees and put an emphasis on the open enrollment periods. Common mistakes, such as too much or too little coverage, can cost individuals quite a lot of money. According to this Cost of Benefit Mistakes infographic, up to 56% of workers waste up to $750 annually. That is the equivalent to 2-1/2 months of car payments, 1-1/2 months of groceries, or 5 months of mobile phone service for my family, just to help put that number into perspective.
To learn more about Aflac's findings from this survey, take a look at this article on Fox News. You can also find more news and tips about insurance on www.aflac.com.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Aflac and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.