Finally, if you have high deductible plan, consider a health savings account (HSA). Like flexible spending accounts, contributions are also made pre-tax, but with HAS’s, what you don’t use in a given year will carry over to the next plan year. You can even take your HSA with you when you change jobs. You can enroll in an HSA even if your employer doesn’t offer one. The only caveat is that you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan.
TOM: Is the enrollment period the same for the Affordable Care Act?
MELLODY: if you are going through healthcare.gov, you enroll in a qualified health plan in the marketplace. For coverage starting in 2015, the open enrollment period is November 15, 2014–February 15, 2015, unless you qualify for special enrollment periods outside of open enrollment, if they experience certain events.
TOM: You also mentioned other insurance. What should we think about on that front?
MELLODY: This is a big one that so many people forget to think about. Along with health insurance, open enrollment is also the time that you are allowed to adjust your life insurance coverage and your disability insurance coverage – both short-term and long-term. You want to check your life insurance coverage to make sure it coverage all of your financial obligations in the event of an accident – things like credit card debt or any loans – and your house if you are married. And, as we have talked about on Money Mondays before, disability insurance is really very necessary, as 1 in 4 Americans will have an accident or emergency that will prevent them for working for a period of time at some point during their career. So the annual open enrollment period is important for your financial future in terms of this insurance coverage as well.
TOM: OK, we have covered open enrollment. What else should we be thinking about this fall?
MELLODY: Fall is a great time to develop a budget for the upcoming year, tom. Sitting down and drafting a budget with your financial goals for 2015 is a great way to get ahead of the game. Start by tracking your expenses so far in 2014. Go through your bank statements, your pay stubs, your bills, everything. Once you have all of your expenses in front of you – even the smallest ones – you can start thinking about how you can reallocate your money for next year’s financial goals.
Fall is also a good time to reach out to your financial advisor, or consider getting one. Since we are 3 quarters of the way through the year, you will have a good idea of where you stand in terms of your retirement savings and your investments for the year, and having a conversation with a financial expert, or just reviewing the progress you have made on your 401(k) can help you make the necessary adjustments to do better in 2015!
TOM: Enjoy this fall Monday, Mellody!
MELLODY: You too, Tom!