Dental, vision and other insurance offered by employers may be opt-in policies for young children, but are they worth it? And what about life insurance for parents?
It is almost open registration season, which means that it is time to ask yourself if you want to sign up for any of the insurance packages offered through your employer. Evaluating insurance yourself can be difficult enough – but if you are a parent, the process of choosing insurance options becomes even more complex. Are you going to sign up for your employer's dental, vision or life insurance plans? How can you decide which insurance packages are best for you and your family? Is there a special insurance for children that you should consider?
"Choosing insurance is risk management," says Emma Leigh Geiser, a personal finance coach who writes about finances and care at Nurse Fern. "You can not go back and get insurance with retroactive effect." Geiser suggests that before you begin evaluating the various insurance packages available at your workplace, you should ask yourself which supplementary insurances are best in your life. Do you have family members who wear glasses? Are you prone to cavities? “Knowing the types of insurance you may need will help you choose the insurance policies that are most likely to benefit your family.
Geiser also advises parents to make sure they understand exactly what each insurance package covers – and to ask questions if anything is unclear. . If you have questions, be sure to ask your benefit representative for clarification. There is nothing worse than assuming you have coverage and finding out that you do not have it in a time of need.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the most common types of insurance offered during open registration – and why you might want to consider taking advantage of these benefits if you have children.
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Health insurance tends to be on most people's must-have list – but it does not This does not mean that most people know how to compare health insurance plans or choose it best plan for his family. Eric Roberge, CFP® and founder of Beyond Your Hammock, suggests that parents evaluate health insurance plans based on the following factors:
- Premium cost
- Maximum out-of-pocket
- Access to flexible expense accounts, health reimbursement accounts and / or health-saving accounts. (If you do not recognize these terms, read Haven Life's guide to FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs.)
That said, comparing these types of factors side by side will not always give you the information you need to do your best. the choice to find the right health plan. You also need to ask yourself what factors are most important to you and your family. Are you willing to adopt a high-deduction health insurance plan so that you can take advantage of the tax-deductible savings opportunity that a health savings account offers? Do you need your health plan to cover specific doctors or prescriptions? Are you just looking for health coverage with the lowest monthly premium?
It is also a good idea to think about how your health insurance can affect your family not only this year but in the long run. "The best [health insurance] plan will improve your protection planning and could potentially provide an opportunity for long-term asset growth if you can leverage something as a health-saving account," says Roberge. If you find a plan that gives your family the health coverage you need at a price you can afford and that you can save for the future, it's a win-win.
Life insurance is another "must-have" insurance policy – but if you already have an affordable life insurance plan in place, you may not need to sign up for the supplemental life insurance plan offered by your employer. "Most parents can skip the supplementary life insurance from their employer, unless you have existing conditions that make life insurance coverage a problem," says Betty Wang, CFP® and founder of BW Financial Planning.
If you are concerned that your health may prevent you from accessing the type of life insurance plan that requires a medical examination – or if you feel uncomfortable with personal examinations due to the COVID pandemic – you should know that there is no medical examination life insurance plans available, and they may offer better coverage than your employer's supplemental life insurance plan. As with all insurance policies, it is important to compare your options before making a final decision.
If you have not yet started the concept of life insurance application, a supplemental life plan can keep your family covered while you are on a schedule. "Additional life insurance can be a patch until you get the coverage your family would need if something happened to you," Wang says.
That being said, eventually you will probably want to switch to life insurance. "When it comes to life insurance, we usually suggest that we get life insurance that is 10 times gross income," says Roberge, "although there are some unique situations where some form of permanent life can be more meaningful." Haven Life has a guide to the differences between life insurance and permanent life insurance, if you are curious about which type of insurance is best for your family.
If you are a parent, will probably prioritize dental insurance for your children – especially if they are in braces – but it is also important to prioritize dental insurance for you. "Dental insurance is a must," explains Wang. “The purpose of going to the dentist is not just to have clean, perfect teeth. It is for your long term health.
A good dentist does not only check holes in the mouth. Dentists also perform initial screening for oral cancer and may recommend additional tests if they find suspicious lumps or growths. In addition, dentists are often a first defense against other health problems that can affect not only the mouth but the whole body. "Studies show that gum disease can increase the risk of other health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease," Wang reminds us.
If you can afford dental insurance for yourself and your children, sign up – and do not skip your checkups every two years.
Children need regular moments for two reasons. First to make sure their eyes are as healthy as possible. Second, to confirm that if they need corrective lenses, they get what they need to do well in school, in sports and at home. How about parents? "I do not feel as strong about vision insurance for parents," says Wang. If your employer offers reasonably priced vision insurance, you may want to consider getting insurance for yourself – but it may be okay to just get a vision insurance for the kids. (Note, however, that some employers only offer vision plans for the whole family, rather than a grandchild option.)
Whether you should get vision insurance for yourself really depends on the health of your own eyes – and if you are likely to need more than a single prescription update . "I often skip additional vision benefits because I have no vision problems and my basic insurance covers glasses," says Geiser. If you have a family history of glaucoma, on the other hand, you may want to prioritize vision insurance.
The second reason to consider vision insurance for yourself? It can encourage you to be proactive about your own health, and it is the type of self-care that can benefit the whole family. "Parents need to take care of their own health," Wang recommends. "If they know they are paying for dental and vision insurance, encourage them to make an appointment, it is an advantage."
Many employers offer two types of disability insurance: short-term disability and long-term disability. Some parents may want to sign up for short-term disability insurance if they plan to have another child next year, as short-term disabilities often cover a percentage of the income lost during maternity leave. Other families may not need short-term disabilities, especially if they have a robust emergency fund. "Short-term disability is often not needed if you have enough reserves set aside to cover 3-6 months of your regular expenses without income," explains Roberge.
How about long-term insurance? Roberge thinks it's worth considering, especially if you (like most parents) are at the peak of your career. "It is the prolonged disability that can last until retirement that would have the greatest impact on your financial life," he told us. If you earn $ X a year, multiply that by 20 or 25 years – that's how much income you give up if something happened where you could no longer work. This is where most people need additional coverage for a disability insurance policy.
Take a closer look at your employer's disability insurance program and learn how to understand the benefits of disability insurance. Ask yourself if you want to include short-term or long-term disability insurance in your protection planning.
If you bought a quarantine house for children, you may be wondering: Is pet insurance worth it? It depends on. "If I only got one puppy and have no savings to cover an emergency for pets, I might want to consider the costs and benefits of pet insurance," Geiser explains. Some people prefer to set aside some money for veterinary expenses each month, or to cover any unexpected pet care needs from their emergency fund – but other families appreciate the extra security offered by a good pet insurance plan.
If you & # 39; is not sure where you stand on the idea of pet insurance, Wang suggests asking yourself if you want the ability to perform major medical procedures for your pet. Will you spend $ 10,000 on surgery if Odie has hip dysplasia or $ 20,000 on chemotherapy if Garfield has cancer? If your answer is "yes, absolutely", you need to get pet insurance with some coverage. "Keep in mind that the cost of not resorting to medical interventions includes making your children aware of Fido's fate – a not insignificant thing to keep in mind when considering pet insurance.
your pet to a life insurance beneficiary, but you can build trust to ensure that your pet is taken care of after you are gone.Because open registration season is about making sure you and your family members are protected, consider setting aside some time for to make a will, create trust, rebalance your budget or take care of other outstanding tasks that help ensure the safety of your loved ones (including your children and pets) no matter what happens to you.
To taking care of each other is what families do.
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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance C ompany (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and your general well-being can be refreshingly easy.
Our Editorial Policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that is supported and wholly owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and general well-being can be refreshingly easy.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not support the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they suit your situation.
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