Open enrollment: How to choose your benefits

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PHOENIX – It’s almost time for open enrollment and it’s likely that you will pay more for your health benefits for the coming year.

While those benefits are provided by many employers, there’s a cost-share involved, which means the employee pays a portion of the costs for health insurance, life insurance and the like. That portion that the employee covers is going up, in some cases by as much as 15 percent.

Choosing benefits is an important thing, but according to former CNBC finance expert and “On the Money” host Carmen Wong Ulrich, 68 percent put little or no effort into their choices.

“It hurts to hear that stat,” Ulrich said. “You really need to pay attention to this. It is so important.

“This is the time of year – every year – that it’s vital for you to assess your own life, who depends on you and your income for their quality of life and your insurance to make sure that who have enough coverage.”

Numbers also show that 30 percent of Americans, including some 11 million who have children, have no life insurance.

Ulrich said it’s essential to pay attention to the materials your employers sends you. She suggests you sit down and devote some time to reading everything. She also suggests you sit down with your employer of benefits and go over your options.

Representatives should be able to answer any questions you might have – for free.

“Employers are realizing that the more information they provide to you about the benefits they offer, from 401K to health insurance, the better the plan works,” Ulrich explained.

It’s up to you to assess your life and any changes that might have occurred in the past year.

While doing the legwork can be time consuming, Ulrich says it is absolutely worth it because making sure you have proper coverage can save you quite a bit of money in the long run.