By now you know the story. First came COVID. Then lockdowns and worm mandates. Then vaccines and openings again. Then the Delta variant and back to mask the mandate. And now, here we are – about 73% of American adults have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine (which is good!), But the virus is increasing, especially among those who have not yet been vaccinated (which is bad!). Takeaway? We can expect the coronavirus to remain for some time to come, and that reality will affect how we make our most important decisions – including those we make this fall during our open registration periods in 2021.
Open registration, as you probably know at this point is the annual period when your employer requires you to make decisions about health care and related employment benefits. Do you need vision and dental protection? How much do you want to pay for a care plan? Do you want a higher deductible and lower premium, or vice versa? Choosing a health insurance plan can be complicated and stressful even in the best of times. Factor in a global pandemic and, yes, there is a lot to think about entering this year's open registration window.
If you feel seen by what you have just read, you are not alone. When millions of employees enter the open registration period, Haven Life surveyed 1
Most people are worried about the Delta variant
In fact, 71% of respondents said they were and 45% said the variant would affect the benefits they choose for their new plan in the autumn. This survey was conducted in July, so we can only assume that both percentages have increased even higher as the latest wave of COVID has swept through the country.
A large majority buy the same or more benefit coverage due to the pandemic  Only 3 percent of those surveyed said they would buy less coverage than they did before the pandemic. According to our survey, 72.48% buy the same amount; 14% buy more. (About 10% said that the question was not applicable, or that they would not buy new coverage during the open registration period.)
It makes sense, because the events of the last year and a half have made us all think of things differently. Among these things: Our overall health, our health-related needs and our plans for what to do in case of illness or emergency. Some types of insurance make about as much sense as they did in the past – such as your vision or dental plan. (Well, at other thoughts: Did you have too much candy during the pandemic? We know we did. Maybe we'll pay extra attention to the dentist this fall.)
Others may be worth re-evaluating. Health protection, for example. Maybe you are young and healthy, or maybe you have dealt with some already known health problems. As the pandemic reminded us all, none of us are as young as we used to be, and even the relatively young among us were not immune to the more outrageous effects of COVID. And if your "health problems" now are what are commonly referred to as "underlying conditions", well, you already know the deal. Spending a little extra on health care coverage that spares you the worst financial consequences of getting seriously ill (or worse) is more meaningful now than it may have been a few years ago – or even a year ago, now that we know what the Delta variant (and perhaps future variants) can do. It is worth double checking to make sure you have the right medical plan in place.
Disability insurance is another category that is worth considering. Did you know that one in four 20-year-olds, according to the social insurance administration, will experience a disability before retirement age that prevents them from working for at least one year? Given the still mysterious long-term effects of COVID (just google "COVID long-haulers", if you are not already aware), many of us think twice about what would happen if illness or injury prevented us from working during a time. Consider taking a closer look at what your employer offers for income protection for the disabled, or, hey, check out Haven Life's new disability insurance.
In general, people are happy with the benefits they are offered
Two thirds of respondents knew their employers offered enough employee benefits to meet their needs. This is good, given how much basic health coverage needs are still linked to employment status – and how much the events of the last 18 months or so have reminded us of how tough both employment and health can be.
Most respondents would be underinsured if they relied solely on their employer for life insurance
Many financial experts recommend that you consider a life insurance cover between 5 and 10 times your salary, but most of our respondents said they were only offered coverage equal to their salary. In other words, a life insurance policy through your employer alone would give you much less coverage than your family would probably need if the worst were to happen to you. one of the best things you can do for your family. And most financial experts agree that a plan includes getting a life insurance policy that would provide for your loved ones should you die unexpectedly.
If you are entering the 2021 open registration period, it is critical that you consider the full package of your benefit options – including those offered in groups and voluntarily by your employer, as well as individual out-of-work offers. For example, a Haven Term policy can offer a 35-year-old woman in excellent health $ 500,000 in life insurance for 20 years for just $ 17.50 per month.
It may be a cliché to say that peace of mind is available for less than what most people spend per month on coffee, but you know what they say about clichés? They became clichés because they are true.
About Louis Wilson
Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a number of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men's fashion and grooming and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.
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