It’s Open Enrollment Season – Read Your Benefits!

October 9, 2014Allison Murray

Like everyone I worry about far more than I probably should… there’s always the threat of new illnesses, emergencies and something bad happening to the ones I love.

It took me awhile to mature into worrying about money. My first job payed fairly well and money wasn’t much of a problem. I bought what I wanted when I wanted, went out to eat often and never had to worry about money to go to the doctor or take my animals to the vet. But I pretty well lived hand to mouth.

My first and current home.
My first (and current) home! Deciding to grow up and purchase instead of rent was one of the best decisions I feel I’ve made as an adult.

When I was 25 I decided that it was time to get my act together. Tired of throwing money away on rent I purchased my first (and current) home, paid off my vehicle to eliminate payments and did my best to save as much as I could. And then I was so happy with my new, grown up decisions as I got docked to part time and of all the times, my gallbladder decided it was time to turn against me.

Being no stranger to surgery having had 3 prior to this as an adult, I knew that it was going to be expensive and I knew exactly what I would owe based on my health insurance (a few bad illnesses and accidents will teach you to understand your heath benefits like you wouldn’t believe, people).

I was surprised to find that the surgeons covered by my insurance o remove my gallbladder worked in facilities that would not work out a payment plan. Nope, I had to come up with almost $5,000 out of pocket and out of nowhere and I emptied my savings account and still had to get financial assistance from my dad. For the first time I seriously considered how bad things could possibly get for me financially. I feel like I thought I  knew but it turns out I didn’t really fully understand just how one little accident or illness could consume my life. To be honest  I wish I’d had this info from Aflac explaining the details about being One Emergency Away from Financial Disaster.

Savings completely wiped out I continued on with my part-time job with the promises that it would soon be returned to its full, 40 hour a week minimum glory. But while I was waiting, I lost my pinky finger. The visit to the ER was devastating and expensive. My finger was reattached very crudely and I had to get in touch with a specialist hand surgeon. You know when they say specialist that this ain’t gonna be cheap! This hospital did work out a payment plan with me but I was laid off only 2 months later. I went from part-time pay to unemployment pay and a huge monthly payment for my emergency room visit an subsequent surgeries. The first time I missed a payment it seemed my credit score took a crazy big nosedive. And I was emotionally devastated.

Me and my Momma the same year I racked up huge medical bills and got laid off just months later. (and my natural hair color :)

Now I may have learned my lesson early on but not everybody is as unlucky (or unhealthy, it would seem) as me. And a lot of Millenials have absolutely no idea what they’re signing up for during open enrollment for their insurance. I remember back in the day when I just picked what the HR lady thought I needed, signed my papers and went on about it glad to have that over with already. But guess what! That’s not good enough for anyone at any age.

Did you know that 72% OF Millenials at least somewhat agree they regularly underestimate the total cost of an injury or illness?  And you know what? It’s not that hard to do! As one ER nurse told me, you should take that box of terrible tissues with you because you’re going to pay 60 bucks for it. It all adds up and it gets to be surprisingly expensive when all of the dust settles and the bills start rolling in.

That’s why it’s so important to pay attention when enrolling in your benefits for 2015. Know what your insurance will cover and and what it won’t. Because when an emergency happens to yourself or your family the one thing you shouldn’t be worrying about is whether or not insurance is going to cover what’s going down.

None of us are going to know this stuff out of the blue. You either learn it by awful experiences or by research. And I’m really hoping that you’ll take a moment to look into this whole insurance thing. It doesn’t have to be hard… Aflac will help you out with some info to help you make your decisions this open enrollment period. The 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report is chock full of good info to help you make these important decisions smart ones. In short – READ YOUR BENEFITS and be sure you understand what you’re signing up for during open enrollment this year. I hope you’re healthy and well in 2015 but I’ll be so glad knowing you’re prepared for the emergency we never see coming.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Comments (2)

  • Cindy Griffis

    October 10, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    BE WARY of AFLAC!!!! Their promises are not acted upon! My daughter is an insurance agent in Indiana. She couldn’t afford health care insurance for her children because her ex failed to pay child support. As a precaution that she could afford, she took out an AFLAC policy for her children because one was driving and the younger is an athlete. The athlete ended up having a sports injury that dragged on for eight months, culminating with surgery that included a $30,000 hospital bill/doctors’ fees. AFLAC first denied the claim, but after she and the surgeon refiled they came through…..$250 dollars! They only paid that when she told them she was about to cancel the policy and felt they were just dragging on to keep getting her payments.

  • Aflac Phyllis

    October 29, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Hi Cindy,
    I’m so sorry your daughter has had an unpleasant Aflac experience. I would like to have our customer service team review her situation and contact her about this. Would you please ask her to email us at [email protected] so we can assist her?
    Also, in an effort to protect our policyholders identities and policy/claim information, Aflac has established corporate privacy procedures . Therefore, if she is a policyholder, when she emails us, in the body of the email, please ask her to provide the nature of your concern (she can just copy and paste your comment from above), her name AND AT LEAST TWO of the following criteria: Policy number, Claim number, Claim Check number, Date of Birth, or Name of your Employer.
    Thank you

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Post Next Post


Sign up for my newsletter and grab my 10 most popular blog posts, I'll send them right to your email address.