November 3, 2015

Researching Benefits with Aflac

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This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.


If I told you that if you took a few minutes of your time this fall to RESEARCH that you could save yourself up to $750 would you do it?! I know I would!

For the first time in 5 years we haven't hit our deductible yet this year. We've been plagued with medical bills the last several years, ER visits, two babies being born, a knee surgery and a gall bladder surgery... and those first few years of our marriage we just chose the least expensive insurance option through my husband's work and moved on. After the birth of our first son, and paying an arm and a leg for our high deductible, we've started paying closer attention to our benefits. With Rhett, we thought we had the ideal options... but come to find out, we were wrong, and my husband had to spend hours and hours on the phone with the insurance company to straighten out the mess of our medical bills after his birth. 

It's that time again when we all start considering what benefits might fit our families and lifestyles best in the next year. I personally am not a huge fan of "adulting", aka doing things that adults do like considering insurance options, but I know it's something we have to do to be responsible people. It is so important to consider your options during open enrollment because you need to be able to select the best benefit choices to suit the needs of your family, and those who skip through it may pay more or be faced with higher out of pocket costs down the road... or even worse, end up with inadequate coverage for their families.... like we did with Rhett's birth.
So why should Millenials be thinking about their insurance coverage?! Mainly because more Americans would rather be doing anything else... we know it's something we don't really WANT to do, but we need to! Selecting the right health care benefits can be one of the most important decisions Americans will make all year, but the 2015 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that many millennials do not take time to read the fine print of the policies offered to them and with many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, combined with rising health care costs, this is risky business. 

High-deductible health plans (HDHP) are rising in populariies, but millennials are not always satisfied with them. HDHPs are becoming a more common choice. 
-Nearly half (48%) of millennials selected a major medical/health insurance plan with a high deductible of $1,000 or more last year, up from 28% who said the same in 2014. Yet, many millennials who chose a HDHP had second thoughts. 
-65% at least somewhat agree that they regret choosing a HDHP. 69% at least somewhat agree that their HDHP was financially detrimental for themselves and/or their family. 
-35% noted their health insurance gives them some of the protection they need, but a serious illness or accident would still create a financial burden for them. This may stem from a lack of understanding. 
-More than half (59%) at least somewhat agree that they did not understand how a HDHP really works. 
-In addition, more than one third (35%) noted their health insurance gives them some of the protection they need, but a serious illness or accident would still create a financial burden for them. 

Millennials who do choose a HDHP may want to encourage their employer to ensure they have other benefits options available. For instance, a health savings account and voluntary insurance can help pay for deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs to offset a possible financial burden.


So why is voluntary insurance worth looking into? Voluntary insurance is a key component of health care – especially for millennials who are often in denial about being diagnosed with a serious illness or a disability. Voluntary insurance policies such as accident, critical illness and hospital help to protect millennials from high out-of-pocket costs that major medical insurance was never designed to cover. Many pay cash benefits that can be used for groceries, child care, lodging or parking at the hospital.

So that $750 I mentioned at the beginning of this post? You could save yourself that much just by researching your options and choosing the best option for YOU! According to Aflac, Americans throw away up to $750 per year with benefits-option mistakes (per Aflac's website). So be an adult, does the right adult thing and research your options and save yourself some money (and heartache) in the long run! I know we learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago, and now make sure we read that fine print!

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

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