Tips to help you get prepared to make a smart choice
Open enrollment season is here and its time to wade into the murky and often confusing waters of insurance terms and accounts to find the right plan for you and your family. It can be a daunting task so we’ve put together some high-level tips that might help in your decision making process.
First off, check your past finances. Look through the last year and determine what you’ve spent on health insurance in the past along with what you’ve paid out of pocket, then compare that with your frequency of doctor visits. If you don’t typically go to the doctor often during the year you might consider a high deductible plan. Monthly premiums are less but co-pays and hospital visits could cost more. If, on the other hand, you have a lot of doctor visits or a preexisting condition, a lower deductible plan may be better for you.
Know your out-of-pocket maximum (the most you have to pay for covered services in a plan year). Look at deductibles, copayments and coinsurance to learn how much it will cost you to see your doctor with each plan. Also make sure that your doctors are in-network (a preferred provider by the insurance company). Often seeing someone out-of-network or out of your plan will cost more.
If you have the option, consider contributing to an HSA (Health Savings Account). This type of savings account allows you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. You can open an HSA through your employer if offered or through a bank or financial institution.
Finally be sure to carefully check your plan when renewing. Plans often change each year and you’ll want to make sure of the level of coverage that you are getting.
While it might seem like a challenge, open enrollment is a good time to better understand how you and your family use your health insurance while allowing you the opportunity make adjustments to your plan.