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Questions to ask during open enrollment 2021

Sep 28, 2021
Empower Insights

Open enrollment is a great time to reconsider your benefit options

Fall is the time of year when leaves change, sweaters get moved to the front of the closet and companies across the U.S. gear up for another open enrollment season.

And this year, some Americans may be paying closer attention during open enrollment. Recent data suggests COVID-19 and the Delta variant are causing many workers to rethink their benefit selections and potentially increase the amount of insurance they purchase for 2022.1

What is open enrollment?

Open enrollment gives employees the chance to make changes to their workplace benefits package. In most cases, this annual period allows you to modify your healthcare coverage and update your life insurance policy as needed. Unless you experience a qualifying life event, such as having a baby or tying the knot, it’s the one window you have each year to revise your personal elections.2

From a big-picture perspective, it’s also a great opportunity to review your retirement income and financial strategy.  

graphic showing Open enrollment options

So, before completing your open enrollment selections this fall, consider asking yourself these two important questions:


At first glance, a health savings account (HSA) and a flex spending account (FSA) seem similar.  They both let you allocate pretax dollars for paying for medical expenses. But these two solutions couldn’t be more different when it comes their features, rules and provisions.

If you have access to both an HSA and an FSA through your employer, it’s important to know how they work and what they offer before deciding how much to contribute to one or both. For example, you can tap into an HSA to cover any qualified health cost you have today — and when you’re retired. On the other hand, you can only use an FSA to pay for current medical expenses as you generally lose any unspent funds at the end of the year.

To learn more about how HSAs and FSAs compare, check out a previous edition of Empower Insights for key details


Even if you’re able to fine-tune your retirement account throughout the year, the open enrollment period is still an excellent time to look into your financial health and your financial future. After all, your nest egg needs a checkup, too. Take a minute to:

Of course, managing your retirement savings isn’t always easy. If you need help along your journey, consider seeking out trustworthy financial advice. New Empower and Personal Capital research shows more than 75% of Americans believe using professional guidance is critical to achieving a secure retirement.


You really don’t want to miss your open enrollment period. Unless you have a qualifying event later, it’s typically the only time during the year when you can enroll or make changes to your benefit elections. If you do miss your open enrollment period, reach out to your employer’s human resources department to see if there’s any flexibility or potentially another opportunity to change your coverage.


1 PLANSPONSOR, “Workforces Are Rethinking Open Enrollment,” August 2021.


Empower Retirement, LLC and its affiliates are not affiliated with the author or responsible for the third-party content provided.


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