Tom: What else should we be thinking about?
Mellody: Insurance. Along with health insurance, open enrollment is also the time that you are allowed to adjust your life insurance coverage and your disability insurance coverage – both short-term and long-term. You want to check your life insurance coverage to make sure it covers all of your financial obligations in the event of an accident – things like credit card debt or any loans – and your house, if you are married. Disability insurance is also very important, as 1 in 4 americans will have an accident or emergency that will prevent them for working for a period of time at some point during their career. You want to make sure you are covered on both of these fronts if you are not already, and open enrollment is the time to do that.
Tom: Are there any other things we should make sure to look for?
Mellody: Absolutely. For most companies, this period is also the time when you are able to opt in or out for a vast range of benefits. Thinks that you should make sure to look out for are transportation benefits, such as pre-tax fares for public transit or parking assistance, wellness benefits like discounted or subsidized gym memberships, or education assistance, either in the form of tuition reimbursement or subsidies for classes that count as professional development. This is why you have to know what your options are during open enrollment period, and take advantage of them!
Tom: Great to know! Thanks for joining us Mellody!
Mellody: Great to be here, Tom!
Mellody is President of Ariel investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.