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open enrollment season

How to Get the Best Health Insurance Coverage for Your Family During Open Enrollment Season

For most U.S. companies, fall marks open enrollment season, a time when workers can review their employer-sponsored benefits offerings and choose the health insurance policies that best meet their financial and health care needs.

Although selecting the right health care benefits may be one of the most important decisions you will make all year, an Aflac survey found that many people do very little research to learn which plans and products really work best for them. In fact, studies show that 34 percent of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options year. There are a multitude of reasons why it is important to  set aside time to research insurance options in order to ensure adequate health care protection for yourself and your family.

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Different generations have different health care needs that reflect their life stages

Today’s workforce is comprised of a number of different generations, including baby boomers, Generation X, millennials/Generation Y and the incoming generation of workers known as Generation Z. Many of today’s families are also spanning more generations than in the past, which means one-size-fits-all benefits options aren’t enough anymore. For instance, the type of benefits options a young, single employee needs are significantly different than those for an employee who is supporting multiple dependents or facing more health issues due to advanced age. That’s where voluntary insurance helps, since it allows employees to select voluntary policies that best suit their own needs, as well as the needs of any dependents they may have.

Open Enrollment Season

Consider voluntary insurance policies offered by your employer

When an unforeseen medical event occurs, many people are often faced with paying copayments, deductibles or treatment costs not covered by major medical insurance, as well as other daily living expenses – all while paying increasing health insurance premiums.

According to a recent Aflac survey, 66 percent of workers would not be able to adjust to the large financial costs associated with a serious injury or illness, and 49 percent have less than $1,000 on hand to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Voluntary policies, which complement major medical coverage, are specifically designed to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses that can be associated with an unexpected illness or injury. In addition, the cash benefits can be used to help pay rent, gas, groceries, child care or any other out-of-pocket expenses that continue to roll in even if someone is too sick or injured to work.

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Open Enrollment season is the perfect time to add voluntary insurange to your family’s personal health protection plan. There are a wide range of various types of voluntary insurance that may be offered by your employer. Check into them further, and select the coverage types that are best for your household.

Open Enrollment Season

Critical Illness Insurance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease annually. To put that in perspective, that’s 1 in every 4 deaths in this country.

The truth is that no one is immune to life-altering illnesses. Critical illness protection helps you stay ahead of the medical and out-of-pocket expenses that result from certain medical issues, such as a stroke or heart attack. Critical illness insurance helps cover expenses from initial diagnosis through treatment for covered health events. If you are a part of Generation X, a Baby Boomer, or if your family has a history of heart disease, stroke or heart attack, you should definitely consider this insurance.

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Accident Insurance

Everyone, especially active, adventurous families and parents with accident-prone children should explore this insurance. The National Safety Council indicates that the average medical expense for an accidental injury is $5,500. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 80 million injury-related visits to doctors’ offices, hospital outpatient departments and emergency-treatment facilities in the U.S. each year. Accident insurance helps provide everyday financial protection in the event of a covered accident. Benefits are paid for things like x-rays, physical therapy, appliances, emergency treatment and more.

Open Enrollment Season

open enrollment seasonCancer Insurance

No one wants to ever think about themselves, a spouse, or their child developing cancer. However, the possibility is certainly there. In fact, in the U.S., the lifetime risk of developing cancer is slightly less than a 1 in 2 risk for men and a little more than 1 in 3 for women. In addition, more than 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2015 alone.

Having a cancer insurance policy in place can help protect you and your family from the sometimes overwhelming costs associated with being diagnosed with cancer. These types of voluntary policies can be used not only for treatment expenses not covered by major medical insurance, but also for extra child care that may be needed, transportation to and from the doctor or treatments, and even everyday living expenses, such as mortgage payments or groceries.

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Hospital Indemnity Insurance

Hospital inpatient care accounts for nearly a third of U.S health care costs, and there’s no relief in sight: The average length of a hospital stay is 4.5 days at a cost of $10,400. Even if you have major medical insurance, it likely won’t be enough to cover every expense associated with a hospital stay, such as rising deductibles, copayments and out-of-pocket maximums. Hospital insurance pays cash for covered hospital stays, with optional benefits for diagnostic procedures, surgery, ambulance transport and more.

Open Enrollment Season

Life Insurance

For those who are young and single, life insurance can be used to cover funeral/burial expenses, pay off creditor debt or provide parents with funds for retirement. If you are a mom or dad, benefits can help cover your child’s college education, or help your spouse continue to pay the mortgage or any other financial need following the loss of a loved one.

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Disability Insurance

Many people mistakenly believe that the Social Security Administration will provide adequate financial assistance if they become disabled, but that’s not true in all cases. In fact, more than 59 percent of disability claims are denied by the Social Security Administration. In addition, workers’ compensation only covers on-the-job injuries and disabilities, and considering that off-the-job injuries are three times more common than on-the-job injuries, having disability insurance can help you avoid devastating financial situations resulting from an unexpected accident that may leave you unable to work.

Short-Term Disability insurance pays a percentage of your income if you are unable to work due to a covered illness or injury. Benefits are paid directly to you, unless otherwise assigned, to help cover things like deductibles, car payments, utility bills and more.

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Open Enrollment Season

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Research your benefits this Open Enrollment season and find the right voluntary policies to help keep every generation of your family protected.

open enrollment season

open enrollment season

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

open enrollment season

Makeba Giles is a Digital Content Producer and Founder of Faith Health and Home, a digital space with information and resources for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to help families live an inspired lifestyle.

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