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It’s March, so make your picks — on employee benefits

March Madness is a wonderful time of the year in Kentucky. For a lot of us, it rekindles our social lives that have gone a bit dormant over the winter months. We’re (usually) cheering on our favorite team in the tournament. We’re poring over our brackets, getting every detail and every upset pick just perfect — before completely ripping them up by the second round.

Do you know what else we really ought to be spending time analyzing in detail? Our benefits packages. 

“Ok Dave, why are you bringing up benefits in March?” I’m glad you asked!

Nobody’s benefits renew in March. March is pretty much the opposite of benefits season. Many of you are just waiting on the fall email from your employer that reminds you to check your benefits and see if something has changed — marital status, number of children, medical history — as well as instructions on how to make changes to your package. If nothing significant has occurred, you probably just check the box to keep everything the same. It’s easy.

But this March I want to challenge you that this might be an excellent time to pull up your employee benefits from last fall and ask yourself if there’s anything in there you don’t understand or a place where maybe you should have made a different election.

There’s no judgment for second-guessing your choices when it comes to benefits. 

Should you really continue with your low-deductible health insurance plan that costs a little more, or should you consider shifting to a high-deductible plan this fall to have more money in the paycheck and put some of it into an HSA? 

For the young couple that just tied the knot, maybe you need to discuss whether you should add a short-term disability policy in case you need to start a family and want insurance to cover a portion of maternity leave. Did you even know that was an option? Many folks don’t.

Do you just check the box for the free employer-paid life insurance and move on? I always recommend taking the maximum group insurance you can get. When you’re young, that will typically be the cheapest life insurance you can buy for your family. On the other hand, if you’re approaching your 50s, before you check that max group insurance box, you should have a conversation with us to review your individual insurance benefits to see if, based on your medical history, we may be able to find you similarly termed coverage at a lesser cost or a cost that is locked in for more years.

Don’t get me wrong — I love filling out brackets. But it’s so much more important to take a long, hard look at your benefits and make sure those are filled out to perfection as well. 

You don’t want to be tearing them up when an “upset” comes along.

Contact us today so we can go over your benefits together and see where we can help you make the best elections.

Article by David Smyth, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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