Although the time varies, for most companies the new year marks that time of year again... time to review and renew your insurance open enrollment health plan packet. All too often though, most don't take much time to really review what they need from their health plan enrollment packet so unfortunately, they don't always get the best coverage and cost out of their open enrollment health plan packet. It is very important to take some time during your insurance open enrollment window to make the right choices since it will determine the type of health care you will receive for the next year and how much you will pay for those choices.
Making the Right Choice During Your Insurance Open Enrollment Window is Crucial
If you don't make the right decision during your insurance open enrollment time, then for the most part you are stuck with your choices for the next year. Everyone's heath needs change regularly and therefore the health care choices should reflect those changes. Take for instance that you know you will have more prescription health costs this year than last. You may want to change your open enrollment health plan options to cover more prescription costs. Or, what if you are ready for a different doctor? You may want to make a change in your open enrollment health plan packet that enables you to use a wider variety of doctors.
Why Now is the Time
These choices are important not just because they will give you better health care in the coming year, but it is very important that you take the time during your insurance open enrollment window to make these choices since for the most part, you cannot change your health care plan after that window (most plans will only let you change your choices if you have a dramatic personal life change such as the birth of a child or divorce).
Changes to Look for and Things to Consider in Your Insurance Open Enrollment Packet
Now that you know it is important to take some extra time in planning your health care decisions in your insurance open enrollment packet, take the time to look at the following list of changes that you may see in your insurance open enrollment packet and some things you may want to consider when making your insurance open enrollment choices:
Changes You May See this Year in Your Insurance Open Enrollment Packet:
- Increase in Premiums
- Increase in Deductible
- Increase in Co-Payment
- Addition of a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account(FSA)
- Savings from Participation in a Health Survey (you agree to answer questions on your lifestyle and undergo various medical tests such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and HIV screenings and for your participation you would get a small discount on your health insurance premiums)
- Co-Insurance for Prescription Drugs
- More Coverages for Preventative Health Care Costs (preventative health care is considered seeing your doctor on a regular basis and getting regular screeings for you and your choidren such as immunizations)
- Lower Premium Costs for Non-Smokers
5 Things You May Want to Consider When Making Your Insurance Open Enrollment Changes:
1. Determine if you want a plan that gives you a wide variety of choices in doctors. The more choices you have, usually the more expensive it is but for some, having a variety of doctors to work with is worth the extra cost.
2. Decide if you want to have to go through your primary doctor to see a specialist or if you want the freedom to go directly to a specialist. Again, more freedom means more costs.
3. Try to figure out what your prescription costs may be in the coming year. Health care choices in your insurance open enrollment packet will probably come with different prescription drug coverage options.
4. If you decide using a HSA or FSA is best for you, try to estimate what your health care costs will be for your whole family. Remember, non-prescription items such as pain relievers can also count towards your HSA.
5. Do you really need to lower your insurance costs? Then choose a choice in your insurance open enrollment packet that provides a higher co-pay and/or co-insurance. This is what you pay out-of-pocket. Only choose this option if you can afford the out-of-pocket amount without it being a hardship on your finances.