Now that 2012 is reality, consumers, employers, and anyone who has a job looking for benefits is waking up from the Holiday fog and trying to figure out the state of health care for this year.

Although crystal ball-gazing is typically left to the clairvoyant, businesses, individuals, and families are attempting to forecast what lies beyond the hazy horizon of the first quarter and peer over the edge of the insurance abyss. When it comes to analyzing your potential exposure to costs and various options to keep expenses to a minimum, how smart are you? Can you tell the future, or are you still trying to remember where you left your keys?

With looming changes from health care reform on the horizon and increased cost-shifting to employees, voluntary benefits emerge as a bigger player in the benefit programs of the future. According to Employee Benefit News, this year promises to be a huge year for voluntary benefits. That means anyone who wants to protect themselves from runaway medical charges or unexpected health care bills needs to consider the following.

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