It’s that time of year…
Open enrollment. If you’re anything like me, it can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re self-employed or work for a small company. We don’t have a billion resources to use when navigating plan options.
This is my first year on the open market, and I was so very grateful when UnitedHealthcare reached out with a ton of supporting materials. I’m guessing some of you are in the same boat, so I agreed to take a day off from our regularly scheduled sarcasm to share some of their resources.
1. The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to make decisions about your coverage. A lot has changed in health care in the past few years. The ACA has raised the Medicaid limits in some states so more are eligible and is offering subsidies to eligible income levels above medicaid but still in the realm of struggling. Here’s a video to help navigate open enrollment and comparing plans:
Basically, you need to use the time of open enrollment to get the right health plan in place for you and your family. Find a plan between Nov 15 and Feb 15 to have coverage from the marketplace in 2015. There are certain qualifying events that allow you to use a special enrollment period. Picture Travelocity. The exchanges or the marketplace is a website that allows you to compare plans from a bunch of providers like Travelocity does with hotels. This website will be either the government Healthcare.gov website or your state’s individual marketplace website.
2. Planning Components – Know What You’re Buying!
You know you need it… but what exactly are you buying? Insurance is cheaper if you’re healthy. As such, preventative care and other measures are being covered by insurance more often now.
Health plans are annual and there are only a few ways to switch, whether a major life event occurred or its open enrollment time. It’s important to look at deductibles, co-pays, premiums and maximum out-of-pocket as well as the what is covered when comparing health plans. Think about your family and what kinds of things you see doctors for, get prescriptions for, or have operations for. Do you want a co-pay? How much? What’s the right deductible level for you? Your health insurance costs are affected by how much coverage, deductibles, and co-pays you take. Here are a couple of videos that help break it down:
3. Super… But What Does All of This Mean?
All of this health care research can be overwhelming…. deductibles, premiums, co-insurance, EOB, PPO… it is a big decision!
Don’t worry! Here’s a glossary of terms:
4. How Can You Get the Most From Your Health Plan?
Hopefully you have a better idea now about health care and what’s involved in the shopping process, but how can you capitalize on it in order to get the most out of your health care plan? Costs within health care can be daunting, and you don’t want to be paying for things you’ll never use.
- Check your deductible and out-of-pockets on a regular basis to stay ahead.
- When deciding on a plan, look for value adds provided by the company such as nurse lines, apps, and health club discounts too!
- Make sure to ask you Doctor how much medical tests will cost and if there are less costly alternatives.
Here are a couple more video links to help:
I’m about to start this process today… with my new employee… it’s intimidating, but being covered is marvelous!
Are you changing things up this year? Have you in the past?
What’s the health benefit you use the most?