DES MOINES, Iowa--()--With year-end fast approaching, it’s time for most employees across the country to participate in open enrollment and select benefits for the upcoming calendar year. ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions, reminds you it’s important to understand your benefits before you sign on the dotted line.
“Measuring the Effects of Legal and Financial Woes”
“Good benefits decisions can strengthen your financial safety net,” said ARAG Chief Human Resources Officer Erin Barfels. “Do your homework. Consider your personal and family needs for 2013. Have there been changes or do you anticipate life changes? Read all of the open enrollment materials and use your employer’s online tools and resources to make your benefit choices.”
Additionally, Barfels encourages you to ask yourself the following four questions before you complete the benefits enrollment process this year.
1. What changed from last year?
Your employer should review any benefits changes before new plans are instituted. If you haven’t received the necessary information, or are having trouble understanding everything that’s changed, ask your human resources department for a summary in writing.
2. Is there a 401(k) match?
When it comes to investing in your retirement, it’s hard to find a better option than an employer offering a full or partial match to your own savings. In most programs, your employer will offer to match your contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary. This could be a full or partial match, and could vary depending on the amount of time you’ve been with the company. All of this can be confusing, so it’s important to obtain the policy in writing so you can make fully informed investment decisions.
3. Do you have access to a legal
plan, financial planning resources or any other voluntary
In order to attract and retain the best employees, many leading companies offer additional types of insurance beyond health insurance. One common type of voluntary benefit is a legal plan. According to “Measuring the Effects of Legal and Financial Woes,” a recent study conducted by Russell Research and commissioned by ARAG, three out of four employees experienced a legal event in the past 12 months. Furthermore, employees’ legal and financial problems can impact engagement and productivity at work. Enrolling in voluntary benefits such as legal and financial solutions can help you solve these personal problems more efficiently to minimize the impact on your work, as well as increase your physical and financial wellness.
4. What health care plan makes sense for you?
For families, choosing the right health insurance plan requires a lengthy review process. Therefore, it’s helpful for both you and your spouse or domestic partner to understand the plan options and review them together. If possible, evaluate all medical expenses over the past year to see which plan might work best for you. Take into account any upcoming life changes like having a child or new health issues you’ve developed since you last enrolled in benefits. It pays to examine other fringe benefits of health plans, such as discounts to health clubs or other healthy living incentives. You may also decide it makes more sense for each of you to remain on your respective employers’ plans as individuals, so it’s important to consider all options.
While it may seem overwhelming to thoroughly review your options, it’s important to know what benefits you are entitled to and how they work. And remember, if you get confused, your human resources department is there to answer your questions. There’s no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to your benefits, as that question could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
ARAG (www.ARAGgroup.com), whose North American operations are based in Des Moines, IA, is a global provider of legal solutions. The company has an international premium base of almost $2 billion and it protects 15.5 million individuals and their families – worldwide. ARAG offers comprehensive legal plans that provide a smart and trusted path for resolving legal issues. This enables people to protect their families, finances and futures.