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Flex-Ed: Speaking to millennials at open enrollment

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar. You spend hours preparing for a company meeting on employee benefits. But when it's time to share information, some employees are visibly less interested. By the end of the meeting, eyes have glazed over, and attention has disappeared.

Fast forward to open enrollment. Maybe it's a little early to tackle this, but this same group of employees is pretty disengaged. And they are less likely to understand what your company offers. So it's better to start now and avoid confusion later.

Millennials may be first to say, "I've got this." But the truth is, open enrollment can be confusing and stressful. Key details may be glossed over. And as a result, they may be less likely to opt in. Here are some tips on how to spark interest before the onslaught of paperwork begins.

Communication matters

If you're offering the types of benefits millennials value most — great. But do they actually understand what you offer? Communication is critical. Try going beyond in-person meetings, letters, or emails. Share the message in bite-sized pieces through texts, blog posts, or videos. Repeating what matters may be the key to boosting millennial engagement.

Highlight ways to save

Millennials may have a reputation for frivolous spending. But that's not the case with healthcare. Research has revealed nearly half of millennials have skipped or delayed care to save money. Become a trusted resource and advocate by making benefits easier to understand. Break healthcare benefits down into manageable chunks.

Oh, be sure to ditch the industry jargon. These might be common terms to some, but it always helps to decipher things like coinsurance, copayment, or out-of-pocket maximum, providing real-world examples of how each of these will impact their wallets.

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are another way to save on taxes. Money shifts into a special account before being paid. Explain the "use it or lose it" rules and why it requires some extra planning. There's no "magic number" that works for all employees. Everyone's needs are different. Ask these questions to guide them through the decision process:

  • How much money did you spend last year? Sifting through old receipts can be a snooze, but it's helpful to have a baseline for planning purposes.
  • Do you have any major health expenses planned? Time to stop putting off that root canal? Or is your family expecting a baby? You're likely to use 100% of the year's FSA money — and more. But if you're expecting routine check-ups, contributing the full amount may not make sense.
  • Does your company offer a high-deductible health plan? A recent survey found most millennials don't understand how they work. To make matters worse, 70% waste up to $750 because of mistakes at open enrollment. Maybe a health savings account (HSA) is a viable alternative.

Grab attention before open enrollment

No one wants to read a stack of papers. Try delivering the information other ways. Consider which benefits are most valuable to millennials and highlight them — more than once. Helping your employees make the most of their benefits could save them a lot of money. Best of all, they may want to stick around longer.

New FSA-eligible arrivals...


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New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our weekly Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center.

Living Well

Real Money: How your FSA can lead to better sleep

Getting enough sleep can be a constant battle. If you struggle, you know how much it impacts every day of your life. It can mess with everything from your hormones to brain function. Sleep problems may even contribute to major health problems like obesity and depression.

Lack of sleep may cause a lot of havoc, but luckily, there are ways to try and fix it. If you are worried about the money, consider using your flexible spending account (FSA). It's a great way to spend tax-free dollars on getting some shut-eye. Here are four FSA-eligible options you may not have considered.

Improve your sleeping environment

Sometimes, adjusting your bedroom environment can make a big difference. You don't have to break the bank with a full-scale renovation. Try experimenting with a few small changes over time.

If you can't add room-darkening blinds, try blocking out light with a pain alleviating sleep mask. This lavender comfort wrap not only reduces pain through hot or cold therapy, but as a bonus it helps promote relaxation. If you are a light sleeper, try a white noise machine or earplugs to block out extra sounds.

It's a good idea to avoid gadgets, electronics, and bright lights. You should replace your mattress every 5-7 years and invest in comfy bedding. Experts say the ideal sleep temperature is around 65 degrees.

Are digestion issues keeping you awake?

It's common to experience acid reflux or heartburn after a big meal. But if this happens often, it could be gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. If you are pregnant or overweight, these symptoms may be even more likely.

If it happens at night, while you are lying down, a wedge medical pillow may offer some relief. These pillows keep your stomach acid at bay by elevating your head, shoulders, and torso.

Too anxious or stressed? See a professional.

Sleep issues are often linked to mental health problems. Your poor sleep may be the result of anxiety, substance abuse, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These issues may not go away on their own. Lack of sleep may be making your symptoms worse. If you suspect one of these issues may be your underlying problem, don't be afraid to seek treatment.

Consider a sleep study

If you have made a bunch of lifestyle changes and still struggling, consider a sleep study. These tests can measure your sleep cycles to find out where your patterns are being disturbed. A sleep study may help your doctor diagnose one of these common problems:

  • Chronic insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Periodic limb movement disorder
  • REM sleep behavior disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Other unusual sleep behaviors

If your doctor uncovers one of theses issues, they may schedule a follow-up appointment. From there, they can recommend further treatment options to try and resolve the problem.

You don't have to suffer through chronic sleep problems

If you have been suffering from sleep problems for a while, you know how devastating the effects can be. It's tough to slog through every day feeling exhausted, with no relief in sight. If you have already tried a bunch of things, with the same disappointing result, it may be time to speak with your doctor.

With any luck, they may diagnose the problem and get you started with a treatment plan. Before you know it, you may finally achieve that elusive good night's sleep.

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Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.




Living Well

Asked and Answered: How can I use my FSA to handle ongoing allergies?

If you struggle with seasonal allergies -- yes, even in the heart of summer -- you know how difficult they can be. Itchy eyes and sneezing are tough to bear, especially when the pollen count is high. If over-the-counter drugs aren't enough, it may be time for a more proactive approach.

It may not always be cheap, but your flexible spending account (FSA) could make allergy treatment easier to pay for. Here's some things you might want to know.

What causes seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies are rough. Before tackling them head-on, it may help to understand why they actually happen. Allergies occur when your immune system flags a substance — like pollen or mold — as "dangerous" to your body. For protection, your body reacts with inflammation. This may include your digestive system, skin, or sinuses. You can tell from the onslaught of sneezing, congestion, coughing or other symptoms.

Visit an allergist to prevent seasonal allergies

The problem with seasonal allergies is once they begin, they can be difficult to control. Over-the-counter remedies may not be enough. They may leave you with less money, without a lot of progress to show for it.

If your seasonal allergies are severe, you may want to see a doctor before your symptoms begin. They may suggest skin tests or blood work to identify your main triggers. From there, they may offer a customized treatment plan.

Start with the right over-the-counter drugs

Over-the-counter allergy drugs usually aren't cheap. Luckily, with a doctor's prescription, you can use your FSA or health savings account (HSA) to pay for them. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Cromolyn sodium nasal spray - This drug may prevent allergies, but only if you use it before the symptoms begin.
  • Decongestants - These may come in either pill or nasal spray form. Oral decongestants may offer temporary relief from a stuffy nose. But they shouldn't be used every day — or your symptoms may get worse. Here's what to look for in the drugstore:
  • Oral decongestants - pseudoephedrine - brand names like Sudafed or Afrinol
  • Nasal sprays - oxymetazoline (Afrin) or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine)
  • Oral antihistamines - These drugs may relieve allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy skin, watery eyes, or a runny nose. Some of the most popular options include:
  • Loratadine - brand names Claritin or Alavert
  • Cetirizine - brand name Zyrtec Allergy
  • Fexofenadine - brand name Allegra Allergy
  • Loratadine-pseudoephedrine - Claritin-D
  • Fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine - Allegra-D

Consider allergy shots

If over-the-counter remedies aren't enough, your doctor may suggest allergy shots. Once you know what causes trouble, your doctor can start allergen immunotherapy. This involves getting regular shots or tablets.

The treatment includes exposure to small amounts of the problem substance. Over time, your immune system may be more comfortable with the substance and skip flares from future contact.

Be proactive with seasonal allergies

Seasonal allergies make it hard to enjoy the warmer months. Rather than reacting when symptoms flare, consider a more proactive approach. By getting ahead of your seasonal allergies, your day-to-day activities, including time outdoors, will be a lot more comfortable.

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From FSA basics to the most specific account details, in our Asked and Answered column, our team gets to the bottom of your most-pressing flex spending questions. It appears on Wednesdays, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Basics

Flex-Ed: Avoid mistakes with your tax-free funds when traveling abroad

Living abroad is exciting. It's the chance to experience a new culture, learn another language, and, of course, try lots of delicious foods. Whether you are starting a new job, joining the ranks of digital nomads, or retiring someplace cheaper, there are plenty of details to iron out.

With so much to look forward to, it's easy to overlook the practical aspects of your new adventure. If you forgot about your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) — and who could blame you? — there's some good news: you can still use it while overseas. There are a few things you should know before you start swiping, though.

Know your qualified medical expenses

There are a few ways these accounts save you money. You can deposit cash before taxes, let it grow tax-free, and use it for certain qualified medical expenses. By using an FSA or HSA to pay for these, you are getting a discount because you never paid tax on the money.

There is a long list of what the IRS allows. Things like riding in an ambulance, eyeglasses, and dental expenses get a thumbs up. They are also clear on what isn't allowed — cosmetic surgery, supplements, non-prescription drugs, and more. So if you decided to get a nose job on a whim, it wouldn't get tax-free treatment from the IRS. The same rule applies no matter where you live.

There may be a hefty fee for foreign expenses

When you are traveling abroad, it's always better to err on the side of caution with foreign transaction fees. Some premium credit cards may waive them — but that doesn't mean your FSA provider will too.

Before swiping your card overseas, review your FSA or HSA card agreement and disclosures. You may discover a 1-3% percent "international fee" or "foreign transaction fee."

Taking prescription drugs across the border

Managing chronic illness in the United States is expensive. It may be tempting to bring in medicine from somewhere cheaper — after all, we pay more for prescriptions than any other developed country.

The problem is, the IRS says overseas prescriptions aren't "qualified medical expenses." That's because, generally, the FDA doesn't want you to import drugs. They say it's because they can't guarantee the safety or efficacy of medicine from another country. But there may be some rare exceptions. If you can legally import the drugs, they may still qualify.

Be savvy with your tax-free funds in other countries

There are a lot of adjustments to make while living abroad. Fortunately, your FSA or HSA may be one of the easier things to deal with. By following a few basic rules, you can avoid getting into trouble with the IRS — and save on health care.

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New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our weekly Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center.

Accounts

Real Money: How to comparison shop for health care

If you're like most people, you love scoring a deal. Happy hours, cash-back apps, and end-of-season sales are your "go-to" ways to save money. You wouldn't think twice about shopping around for a new car or a hotel stay. Why shouldn't your health get the same level of attention?

According to a recent Health Affairs study, most people don't comparison shop for services. Folks believe comparing costs is important, but only 3% actually do it. Knowledge is one big deterrent — 75% of people don't know where to get the info they need. And some are scared to ruffle any feathers with their current provider.

We get it — healthcare deals aren't lurking in your inbox like Nordstrom's latest flash sale. But there are major price differences between providers. Accepting the first offer may mean paying more than you need to. If you are ready to make a change, we have you covered. Here are some ways to save by comparison shopping for health care.

Stop overpaying for prescriptions

It's expensive to manage a chronic condition — especially with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Even with a health savings account (HSA), monthly prescriptions can be a tough pill to swallow. Luckily, you have more choices than the nearest drugstore.

WeRx or GoodRx are a couple of good comparison websites. By plugging in your prescription, you can compare prices at big box stores. If a pharmacy buys directly from a drug company, there may be extra savings they can pass along to you. You can also use these websites to see if mail order options are cheaper.

Compare prices for common procedures

When your doctor suggests a routine procedure — like an ultrasound or MRI — be sure to carefully jot down all the specifics. Don't leave the office without asking for the procedure's CPT code.

Nonprofit websites like FAIR Health manage the country's largest database of health insurance claims. They allow you to plug in a CPT code and to see the average local cost. You may be shocked to see the wide range of prices in your city for the exact same service.

For example, I plugged in my Nashville ZIP code and "sleep study" to see how much it costs for a diagnostic test. FAIR Health's estimates range from $2,845 (in-network) to $6,617 (out-of-network). That's a massive difference.

You can use the estimate to negotiate directly with the provider you choose. It may also come in handy if your insurance company pays less than you expected. FAIR Health offers step-by-step instructions on how to navigate both of these scenarios.

Never accept the first offer

There is nothing fun about wrestling with medical bills. But the truth is, some headaches are avoidable. Would you drop hundreds of dollars on home repairs without getting multiple estimates? Probably not.

You owe it to yourself to follow the same rules for health care. By uncovering affordable options, you may be less likely to delay a costly — but necessary — procedure. These proactive moves could keep you healthier for years to come.

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Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Living Well

Real Money: Is dental insurance worth the cost?

For many of us, paying for a filling or root canal can be painful. And if you're like me — one of the 23% of folks without dental insurance — going to the dentist costs a small fortune.

Without any issues, I shelled out $380 for dental care in 2018. That's $155 for two cleanings, plus an extra $70 for x-rays. Other than a small gum graft and a couple of cavities, I've avoided any major dental problems.

Based on my history of "good teeth," I've skipped paying for dental insurance myself for 11 of the past 12 years. But what happens if things get worse? I did some research to find out when dental insurance actually pays off.

What most dental insurance covers

According to the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), most policies cover the following areas:

  • Preventative care (cleaning and routine visits)
  • Restorative care (crowns or fillings)
  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral surgery (minor surgeries and tooth removal)
  • Orthodontics (braces)
  • Periodontics (scaling or root planning)
  • Prosthodontics (bridges or dentures)

If you have an individual policy, there's typically a one-year waiting period for the last three. Also, you may need an extra rider to have orthodontics coverage.

How much your provider will pay

Like other types of insurance, it's rare for a policy to cover everything for the more expensive procedures. Here's what they usually pay for:

  • Preventative care - Most plans cover 100%. This usually includes cleanings, oral evaluations, x-rays, and sealants for certain age groups.
  • Basic procedures - You can expect plans to cover 60-80% for basic procedures. This includes office visits, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, and root canals.
  • Major procedures - Many plans only cover 50%. Bridges, crowns, dentures, inlays are all major procedures. It's possible your plan may put some basic procedures — like root canals — into this category too.

Only half of dental PPOs will cover more than $1,500 per year. The other half cap annual benefits below $1,500.

How much dental insurance costs

If you have dental insurance, it's likely through your company's group plan. Premiums range from $14.06 to $30.57 per month or $168.72 to $366.84 per year. Family plans are more expensive — ranging from $27.08 to $56.73 per month — or $324.96 to $680.76 per year.

Unfortunately, there isn't recent data on individual dental plans. When I searched Nashville's Marketplace, individual dental insurance plans ranged from $13.19 to $46.57 per month.

Analyzing my own dental plan options

When it comes to healthcare, I stay with the same doctors for as long as I can. When I searched Nashville's Marketplace, only two plans covered my dentist. The monthly premiums for these plans are $26.03 and $32.79.

One first covers preventative care at 70-90% The second pays 100% for the same services. Both plans have an annual limit of $1,000.

Choosing the more expensive plan means paying $13 more per year. The benefit is 60-80% savings on basic services and 50% savings on major services. Insurance kicks in after a $50 deductible for both of plans.

I am unlikely to use basic or major services, so I have skipped dental insurance again for 2019. I will pay my $380 out-of-pocket with my health savings account.

Is dental insurance actually worth it?

In an ideal world, a crystal ball could predict your future healthcare needs. But reality looks a lot different. You need to consider a plan's annual premiums and what you get for paying them. Be realistic about your upcoming needs.

The policy's annual limit and how much it covers may help you decide. It's difficult to predict the future of your teeth, so you may need to rely on your dental history. Based on your past experience, you can assess how risky it may be to skip insurance.

Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Basics

Real Money: How much is "too much" when it comes to FSA spending?

If you're like most folks, by this time of year, you may be sitting on a big pile of FSA money. According to our estimates, employees hand over up to $400 million of unused cash every year. Those are your hard-earned dollars disappearing back into your company's pockets.

Of course, you don't want to abandon these funds. But you don't want to blow it with your plan administrator, either. So, what's an FSA "hundredaire" to do? Start by checking out these tips.

Be strategic with your FSA balance

Spending down your FSA balance shouldn't be like an episode of "Supermarket Sweep." Instead, take a few minutes to make a list of all the things you actually need. (And if you haven't seen "Supermarket Sweep" make sure you do that right after creating the list.)

Smart spending could include replacing expired products. If you haven't purchased new glasses because the price tag scared you but you could benefit from an updated pair, now may be a good time to do it. For example, it's possible you don't have sunscreen for your upcoming cruise. If you're low on that ointment that your dermatologist recommended, call their office for a prescription.

(And once you have it in hand, our Prescription Process makes the rest of the process a snap.)

Once the panic of missing your FSA deadline dies down, it may be easier to remember all the things you've been too frugal to buy.

Your year-end FSA shopping spree could be scrutinized

The problem with "use-it-or-lose-it" rules is by the time you learn them, it may be too late. Or you hear about them with only a few days to spare. And the latter can lead to sprinting through the aisles of your local drugstore, pitching dozens of family-sized boxes of band-aids into your cart. Both are far from ideal — and stockpiling could get the stink eye from your administrator.

As a general rule of thumb, resist the urge to buy more than three of any single item. It's common for folks to try to stockpile over-the-counter items in December to spend down their FSA balances. But doing so could backfire and your plan administrator may not reimburse you.

If you know you will use the products within the plan year, that's may be enough to pass your plan administrator's sniff test. You are less likely to see a claim rejection if you buy reasonable amounts of FSA-eligible products.

If you're still worried, you can always contact your plan administrator first. Asking them for the specifics of what FSA spending is and it's allowed may ease your mind. If you received a copy of your Summary Plan Description during open enrollment, it may also spell out these rules, too.

Keep a list for next year's FSA spending

Once your FSA deadline passes, the clock starts ticking again for next year's spending. There is always room for improvement, and the end of the year is the perfect time for reflection. If you're not happy with this year's spending, shift next year's priorities accordingly. Instead of beating yourself up for past mistakes, take the opportunity to learn from them. The new year is a chance to start fresh and avoid a big balance next December.

Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Basics

Flex-Ed: Staying ahead of your year-end FSA deadlines

You had the best intentions when you put money into your flexible spending account (FSA). But as the calendar winds down, and holidays disrupt your to-do list, the money could easily go to waste. Luckily, there's still plenty of time to make smart year-end FSA spending decisions. We'll cover how to make the most of your money — while avoiding IRS scrutiny.

Know these key dates

When it comes to maximizing your FSA, knowledge is power. Start by asking your plan administrator for details about your key FSA deadlines (and know the difference between them!). These may include:

  • Rollover - If your company offers a rollover, you'll have an opportunity to keep $500 in your account from the previous year.
  • Grace period - Some employers offer up to 2½ extra months after the annual deadline to use your FSA money. If the annual deadline is December 31, a grace period extends your deadline to March 15.
  • Run-out period - This is your deadline to submit receipts from the previous year. Most companies offer a 90-day run-off period after the deadline. If your plan's deadline is December 31, you'll have until March 31 to be reimbursed.

Before crafting your FSA spending plan, it's critical to know these deadlines. Your company could offer a rollover, grace period, or hard deadline on December 31. Once you know your plan's deadlines, set more than one reminder to avoid surprises.

Where can you spend your FSA money?

If you're taxing your brain, it may be worth revisiting what you purchased over the past year. Now is the perfect time to reimburse yourself for an FSA-eligible expense you may have missed.

Taking inventory of the past couple years of spending may also jog your memory. Are you overdue for an eye exam? Have you been putting off a specialist visit? Did you skip your annual trip to the dermatologist? Time slips away faster than you may expect. You may be able to use your extra FSA money on basic necessities.

If you're still feeling nervous, our foolproof list of FSA-eligible products and services has you covered.

Resist the urge to stockpile

We've said it before, but it's worth mentioning again - try not to "stockpile" FSA-eligible products. There's no hard and fast rule about this, but being too frivolous with these funds can trigger some unwanted IRS attention.

Look, we get it. Things happen — the holidays creep in and before you know it, you're up against the FSA spending deadline. While it may be tempting to splurge on a lifetime supply of gauze, experts urge against it.

If you're trying to follow the rules — and you should be — FSA purchases should cover your current needs. This means things you need through the end of the year. Does that mean your administrator will show up to inspect your bottle of nasal spray? Probably not.

But buying three bottles in December could trigger a red flag. If that happens, it's possible your administrator won't reimburse you. Then you're stuck with too much nasal spray and you spent money unnecessarily.

If your plan offers a rollover or grace period, it may be easier to avoid the temptation to stockpile. Plus, you'll have extra time to plan for the medical expenses you actually need.

Be smart with year-end FSA spending

One of the best things about your FSA is spending pre-tax money on medical necessities. But if you're not careful, you may have to surrender the unused funds. Unless you're flush with cash, returning FSA money to your employer at the end of the year is less than ideal.

The good news is you can use this year's missteps to plan for next year's FSA spending. Planning ahead may help you avoid the same trouble next December.

New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our weekly Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center.

Accounts

Real Money: How to navigate Healthcare.gov when you're expecting

Few surprises are more exciting than learning your family is pregnant. There are endless calls to make, photos to share, and parties to plan. Once the thrill of the news settles down, the reality of your growing family may shift your attention to the expense.

As one of my colleagues covered last week, having a baby isn't always easy, especially without an employer to help cover the bill. So, let's revisit the topic for new parents. Thankfully, there are steps you can take now to soften the financial sting later.

Maternity care is covered

If you're expecting and don't have health insurance there's good news. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you're covered even with a pre-existing condition. This means insurers can't turn you away for being pregnant. Open enrollment is officially underway, so now is the perfect time to sign up through Healthcare.gov or your state's exchange.

How a lower deductible plan pays off

All Marketplace plans cover pregnancy and having a baby. The problem is, each plan's coverage is different. The only way to find out specifics is by digging into the plan's Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC).

A couple of bronze plans with similar monthly premiums could have different out-of-pocket expenses. Take Bright Health and Cigna in Nashville, for instance. Both plans have a $7,900 limit on how much you will pay out-of-pocket. But there are major differences before you get there.

The Bright Health plan covers 100% of services after hitting their $7,900 deductible. Cigna's deductible is a little lower at $7,000, but you're still on the hook for 50% of services after that. As you can imagine, you may owe more if any part of your pregnancy doesn't go as planned. Or you pick out-of-network providers.

To cut back on costly surprises, consider paying higher monthly premiums for a lower deductible. Because maternity care is so unpredictable, you may reach the deductible quickly. If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to read through our ultimate guide to open enrollment.

Stick with providers in your network

One of the perks of shopping for health insurance on Healthcare.gov, is you can filter plans by specific doctors and hospitals. Knowing who you want to see and where you want to go now may save you from heartache later. When making appointments, always confirm specialists are covered — even when they work at an in-network hospital.

You can change your plan after the baby is born

Once the baby's here, you have the choice to stick with your current plan or pick a new one. That's because giving birth kicks you into a Special Enrollment Period. If you prefer a plan with lower premiums and a higher deductible, this is your opportunity to make a change. When you give birth, the clock starts ticking, and you have 60 days to decide.

Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.