Spring is a time when we give ourselves a fresh start, airing our homes after months of winter have kept windows and doors closed. Perhaps this spring we should give ourselves another fresh start by implementing a review of the employee benefits we take for granted, but never truly understand. Here are some items you may want to check and update if necessary:
- Are the medical providers you plan to access for care still participating providers with your health insurance plan? Beware, networks change constantly and the providers who participated the last time you received care may no longer be in your health insurance plan’s network.
- Please be sure to do the same research for your dental and vision care providers. A few questions answered before services are provided can prevent financial heartache later.
- Request SBCs (summary benefit comparisons,) SPDs (summary plan descriptions) and certificates of coverage annually for all of your benefits. It may surprise you how benefits change each year and which may be different than you remembered them to be.
- Verify your prescription coverage carefully. Drugs that were covered recently may not be covered the next time you try to refill your prescription. We have discovered that in some cases tablets, capsules and injection forms of medication are treated differently: some covered, some not. We have also noticed that for particular medications certain dosages are covered and others not. There are resources available to research alternative resources when needed.
- Who are listed as beneficiaries on your life insurance and retirement plans? Be sure to check your coverage at work as well as your individual plans. IRAs, 401(k)s and ESOPs all need to be reviewed for accuracy.
- Verify the amount of death benefit for yourself as well as any dependents. As we approach age 60 our benefits begin to reduce as do those of our dependents. The reductions can be steep the further we go beyond age 60.
- If you have disability coverage, how much will it pay each month? If the benefit is taxable what is the net amount you will receive? Will that be enough to meet your obligations? When do these benefits reduce and by how much?
Many unnecessary expenses can be prevented with a clearer understanding of the details of the insurance plans which cover us. Let’s take a moment to inform ourselves, it will be well worth our time. If we can help you sort through, freshen up and clean up, please contact us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates