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Tips on selecting best programs

Here are some things to consider when evaluating benefit options during open enrollment, according to Tom Billet, a senior consultant with Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc.

• When looking at health plans, weigh the premiums as well as deductibles and coinsurance costs.

"Many think the best plan is the plan with the lowest deductible, but if you don't get sick often, you might be better in a plan with a lower monthly premium and higher deductible," he said.

• With life and disability insurance, determine what the company makes available and consider "buying up" if you want or need more coverage.

• A growing number of companies offer "voluntary" benefits, such as homeowners' or auto insurance. While workers pay the full premium, they can benefit from group discounts.

• Flexible spending accounts allow workers to set aside pretax money to cover medical expenses and dependent care costs.

"In most cases, only 20 to 25 percent of the people take advantage of these accounts," Billet said.

• With 401(k) and other retirement plans, workers should make sure they're contributing at least enough to get the company match, he said.