Maximizing the Value of Voluntary Workplace Benefits

Each year the arrival of fall marks the onset of a different kind of season, one in which a window of opportunity opens for working Americans to take advantage of the benefits they’re offered at work.

It’s called benefits “open season,” and it usually runs each year from about November 1st to year-end, a window during which employees annually are invited to pick and choose among the various benefits offered by their employers. That includes core benefits, whose cost typically is covered wholly or in large part by the employer (health insurance, wellness programs, retirement plan, etc.) as well as voluntary benefits, for which workers willingly pick up the tab, because to them, the benefit is valuable enough to justify the cost. Voluntary benefits include traditional offerings such as disability insurance, health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts, as well as newer products like ID theft protection, prepaid legal services, even pet insurance.

If the goal is to maximize what you get back for the hard work you put in — and who doesn’t want that? — then open season is an opportunity to invest in benefits that not only may pay for themselves, but also provide hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in savings over the long run.
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