With COVID-19 still wreaking havoc around the world, it’s crucial that individuals take this open enrollment “much more seriously” than in the past, says one market analyst and wealth strategist.
“157 million Americans depend on employer sponsored health coverage, but that's going to change because of loss of employment,” Nicola Smith Jackson told Yahoo Finance.
She also notes lasting health effects of COVID-19 may impact those who would normally not consider the marketplace for insurance since they had no preexisting conditions in prior years.
Jackson says a possible stimulus may help individuals, but more instruction is needed on how to use that money when it comes to their health care benefits.
“The stimulus would have a great impact. At least it will give more people cash on hand, but giving that cash on hand — without instructions to that money, still will not be an answer,” said Jackson.
“They’re going to need to understand truly what the premiums are like — that monthly payment that they paid for the health coverage versus the deductible,” she added. “Understanding how much will they have to pay before their insurance kicks in, as well as the co-insurance and co-payments.”
Flexible savings accounts are also important to keep in mind, “but you want to make sure you understand that with those FSAs, there may not be a carry over into the next year. So if you don't use it, you lose it,” said Jackson.
Lastly, Americans may have to look at different revenue streams for income given the uncertainty over the job market amid the pandemic.
“You may have a side gig that may become your main gig. Position yourself for more cash on hand, as well as, more options for income streams,” said Jackson.
Ines covers the U.S. stock market. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre