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Over the next few weeks, millions of Americans will receive their 2013 open enrollment materials. Although it’s tempting to simply check “same as last year,” that can be a costly mistake – especially if your employer is offering different benefit plans next year or your family or income situation has changed.
Plus, an important feature of health care flexible spending accounts, which many people use to reduce their tax bite, is changing next year (more on that below).
Here’s what to look for when reviewing your benefit options:
Many benefit plans – especially medical – change coverage details from year to year. If you’re offered more than one plan, compare features side by side (including plans offered by your spouse’s employer) to ensure you’re choosing the best alternative. Common changes include:
• Dropping or replacing unpopular or overly expensive plans.
• Increased monthly premiums for employee and/or dependent coverage.
• Increased deductible and/or copayment amounts for doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospitalization, dental or vision benefits, etc.
• Revised drug formularies.
• Doctors and hospitals sometimes withdraw from a plan’s preferred provider network.
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