With the "open enrollment" season beginning at most companies, workers need to re-evaluate their health-care insurance plans, retirement savings programs and other employee benefits to determine which best satisfy their needs.

As an Associated Press story on Page M8 points out, studies show that many people spend a half-hour or less on the task, and then simply renew last year's selections without weighing the changes in their benefits or in their lives.

That's a problem because employees are being asked to take more responsibility for selecting — and funding — their benefit programs at a time the costs for many of them are going up.

"Making the right choices can lead to savings of thousands of dollars, while making the wrong ones can potentially cost thousands of dollars," said Tom Billet, a senior consultant with a human resources consulting firm in Arlington, Va.