Saving money with smart open enrollment changes
News from Bradenton Herald:

— Employers will soon be offering workers their yearly opportunity to make changes to their health care benefits. All too often this open-enrollment period has required combing through pages and pages of confusing insurance terms.

But this year workers will receive help translating that jargon thanks to a new requirement that insurers provide a user-friendly coverage summary of all health plans. Combined with innovative wellness plans that reward employees for staying health, experts say millions of workers should be able to make smarter benefit decision and save money in the process.

“There’s a $ 5 or $ 10 bill just sitting there,” says Jody Dietel, chief compliance officer with WageWorks. “They have to do a little bit of homework, but that $ 5 or $ 10 is theirs for the taking.”

More than 55 percent of insured workers estimate they waste up to $ 750 each year because of mistakes during open enrollment, according to a recent survey by insurance provider Aflac. Those wasted dollars are more crucial than ever. Even three years after the recession ended, 62 percent of middle class Americans tell the Pew Research Center they have been forced to cut back on spending in the past year.

Here are ways to make sure you’re getting every dollar’s worth from your health benefits:

MAKE TIME

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Column: Recession unleashes pain on Spanish sport
News from Bradenton Herald:

— With its array of courses and short-sleeves climate, Spain made a natural home for professional golf. In 2011, the land of Seve Ballesteros hosted seven European Tour tournaments, more than any other country.

Next year, that could plummet to just one, the Spanish Open.

Deep in recession, with unemployment near 25 percent, putting up purses to entice golf’s big names is a luxury Spain can ill-afford. Government tourist boards that once bankrolled tournaments to sell Spain as a destination and companies that provided sponsorship often no longer have the money or do not want to be seen spending it on golf when Spaniards are so squeezed financially.

The $ 1.3 million Iberdrola Open, won in 2011 by Darren Clarke two months before his British Open victory, vanished from the Tour schedule this year, with the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal filling its slot.

Also gone are the $ 2.6 million Castello Masters and the $ 3.9 million Andalucia Masters, both won in 2011 by Sergio Garcia. Replacing them next month are the $ 7 million BMW Masters in Shanghai, China, and the Perth International in Australia.

The Madrid Masters, where England’s Lee Slattery in 2011 got his first Tour win, was also canceled, leaving a hole in the Tour schedule last week. No replacement could be found for Bankia, the bailed-out Spanish b…………… continues on Bradenton Herald

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