Open enrollment is the annual period when you can enroll in or make changes to your health insurance whether you are on an employer-based plan, individual insurance or Medicare. Although it may seem like a pain to deal with benefits every year, open enrollment is an excellent opportunity to review your coverage and ensure you’re getting the best possible deal. Here are the five most important things you need to do during open enrollment.

1. Review your current coverage and benefits

The first thing you need to do during open enrollment is take a close look at your current coverage and benefits. What has changed since last year? Have your needs changed? What kind of coverage does your company offer? Once you have a good understanding of your current situation, you’ll be in a better position to make any necessary changes.

2. Compare your options

Once you know what kind of coverage and benefits you currently have, it’s time to start looking at other options. If you’re happy with your current situation, great! But if not, now is the time to explore different plans and find one that better suits your needs. Use websites like www.wahealthplanfinder.org for the Washington Exchange, or Medciare.gov to compare and find the best possible choices.

3. Consider your family’s needs

If you have a family, it’s essential to consider their needs when choosing a health insurance plan. Make sure you understand the details of each plan and how it would impact your family in the event of an illness or accident. In addition, remember to sign up any eligible family members for dependent coverage during open enrollment.

4. Know your tax implications

Health insurance plans come with different tax implications. You must be aware of how each option could impact your taxes before making a decision. Generally speaking, plans that offer more comprehensive coverage will come with higher premiums, but they may also offer tax breaks that can offset some of the cost.

Some high deductible plans are also tied the Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) where you put pre-tax dollars to spend for medical bills. Be sure to talk to your accountant or financial advisor about the best option for your individual situation.

5. Use available resources

Finally, don’t forget that plenty of resources are available to help you make the best decision for your needs during open enrollment. Talk to your human resources department, read through benefit materials thoroughly, and take advantage of any online resources or decision tools that may be available through your company. If you have individual insurance look at the individual marketplace. By taking the time to do your research, you can be confident that you’re making the best choice for yourself and your family.

In brief, open enrollment is a critical time of year to review health insurance choices. By taking the time to review your options and understand your individual needs, you can be sure that you’re getting the best possible coverage for yourself and your family at the best possible price. Don’t wait until the last minute – start researching now so that you can make an informed decision when open enrollment rolls around.