Open Enrollment with Charleton Lamb
Today’s Martinis and Your Money episode is a special episode about Open Enrollment. If you’re not sure what Open Enrollment is and you live in the U.S., this is the show for you! From November 1st to December 15th, you can sign up for or change your health care benefits to begin in January 2018. Making the right elections or understanding your options is an important financial decision for you to make so I invited Charleton Lamb from Justworks to join me for this episode. Charleton answers some questions regarding Open Enrollment, and I share my thoughts on health care options and picking the right one for you, your family and your budget. Cheers!
What are we drinking?
Charleton — A Moscow Mule
Shannon — Deep Eddy’s Cranberry Vodka with club soda
- Before Charleton started working for Justworks, he didn’t think about health care benefits much at all.
- Open Enrollment is the period of time where anyone on a health plan through their employer gets the chance to reevaluate your options and make new choices.
- Open Enrollment happens once a year, and it happens because every insurance provider resets their prices once a year.
- Outside of Open Enrollment, you can’t switch or shop for different health plans.
- The cheapest option is the High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) which is designed for young people without regular medical costs and has a much cheaper premium.
- The real benefit of the HDHP is eligibility for a health savings account (HSA).
- HSAs are a very recent financial instrument and offer a triple tax advantage – you don’t pay taxes on the money put in it or on the interest that money earns, and you don’t pay taxes when you take that money out.
- Shannon says many people call them a ‘health care retirement account’ (health care IRA).
- You only have access to a health savings account if you have a high-deductible health plan.
- There are some plans that have pretty high deductibles but don’t count as a high-deductible health plan under IRS rules, which means those plans don’t have access to an HSA.
- Shannon advises her clients to max-out their HSA.
- Charleton says HSAs can be used in many different ways.
- The HSA contribution limit for an individual is $3,400 and is $6,700 for a couple/family.
- HSA funds rollover from year to year – unlike FSAs.
- The Preferred Provider Organization health plan (PPO) is the most expensive option.
- Shannon asks Charleton why someone would choose that plan.
- He says medical needs is one of the main reasons for choosing the PPO plan.
- To prepare for Open Enrollment, Justworks recommends doing 3 things:
- Talk with your family or any dependents about their current medical situations and anticipations
- Analyze some of your medical bills from the previous year
- Make a list of every doctor you see to check if they are in-network or not
- During Open Enrollment, employers will often introduce new benefit programs or options like dental insurance, vision insurance, disability insurance and life insurance.
- Shannon and Charleton agree that understanding disability insurance coverage is extremely important.
- More and more employers are taking a holistic approach to health and are beginning to offer programs for mental health like access to counseling services and meditation, yoga or fitness reimbursement.
- Shannon says Open Enrollment is also the time to meet with your employer and demand certain benefits that are important to you.
- Charleton explains Justworks and the tools they offer to help businesses provide benefits to their employees.
TAKEAWAY: First, make sure you have health care. Secondly, make sure you have the right coverage for YOU. I know the monthly expense seems like something your budget can’t afford, but I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve seen with tens of thousands of dollars of medical debts they’re trying to work through because they didn’t have healthcare to begin with. Please take the time to research your options and find the right fit for you and your budget!
Random Three Questions
- What is a TV show you like to binge-watch?
- Where is a place in the world you want to travel to?
- If you were to win $1 million, what would you do with it?
Connect with Charleton:
If you need or want someone to help you figure out how you can afford your healthcare or making your healthcare work for your budget, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. Head over or send friends to financialgym.com/friends to sign up today!