Employee benefits to consider during open enrollment

Key Points

  • In addition to medical insurance and your retirement plan, you should consider your employer's other insurance and benefit offerings during open enrollment.
  • Disability income insurance can help protect one of your most important assets — your ability to earn an income.
  • Long-term care insurance can help with the high expense of home health care, assisted living and nursing home facilities.
  • Life insurance can help protect your loved ones who rely on you.

How to evaluate your employer's insurance benefits

Many employers offer disability income, long-term care and life insurance benefits during open enrollment. Consider these benefit options as you build a plan to protect you and your family.

3 key insurance solutions

Disability income insurance

Your ability to earn an income can be your most valuable asset. If an injury or illness prevents you from working, it could have a dramatic effect on your finances and lifestyle.

  • Employer-sponsored policies are offered by most companies at a group rate. These policies usually only insure 60 percent of your salary and don't cover bonuses or commissions.
  • Individual disability income policies can supplement your group coverage and help you insure more of your total income. Unlike a workplace policy, an individual policy is portable, meaning your coverage will continue even if you change jobs.

Long-term care insurance

At some point, many people will require some form of long-term care services — at home or at an assisted living facility or nursing home. The cost of long-term care can be dramatic. Insurance can help protect your assets and preserve the quality of life for you and your loved ones.

When you evaluate employer-sponsored plans and individual policies, keep the following in mind:

  • Coverage parameters. How do different policies vary in the types of services they support? Which policy best meets your particular needs?
  • Benefits payout. How much does the policy pay per day for care in a particular setting? How does the policy pay out — as a fixed daily amount or as reimbursement for the cost of care up to a daily maximum? Does the policy have a maximum lifetime limit?
  • Eligibility. Does the policy use certain "triggers" to determine eligibility such as the formal diagnosis of an illness or disability? What is the maximum issue age for the policy?

Life insurance

If anyone relies on you for financial support, you should strongly consider life insurance. Most employers offer group life insurance benefits but you may find that having an individual life insurance policy might be more cost effective and be portable should you change jobs.

Look at the following to help determine how much coverage you need:

  • Annual income
  • Outstanding mortgage
  • Other debt
  • Cost of children's tuition
  • Amount needed to continue funding retirement savings
  • Estate taxes, uninsured medical costs, funeral expenses

Contact an Ameriprise advisor today to help plan a protection strategy that's right for you.