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Insurance Tips To Remember During Open Enrollment

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Open enrollment is a critical time for employees, as it provides the opportunity to select or update health, disability, and life insurance coverage for the next year. However, many employees do not pay attention to changes in their existing plans or make time to reevaluate their insurance needs.

In this podcast episode, we discuss tips to help you make the most of open enrollment and find the best coverage to fit your ever-changing needs.

Show highlights

Don't keep the same coverage without reviewing it closely.

Healthcare insurance offerings are becoming more complex, but we are not spending enough time reviewing our options.

Forty-six percent of Americans spend less than 30 minutes making a decision about their health insurance. According to a 2014 survey by Research Now for Aflac, almost 90 percent of employees choose the same plan every year.

This complacency may prevent from getting the best possible coverage. Before you select your existing plan, examine it closely for any changes from the previous year.

For example, if your employer changes your provider network to save on costs, your preferred doctors and hospitals may not be available. If they are still available, it may not be at the same level of copay or coinsurance.

Don't select a plan based on price alone.

Many employees assume for the priciest, feature-rich plans provide the best coverage, and the cheaper plans are the best price-conscious options. 

It is easy to get stuck on the sticker price of a plan, but employees need to consider many factors before making a decision, including:

  • Does the provider network include your preferred doctors and hospitals?
  • What formulary does this plan use? How does it affect the cost of your regularly used medications?
  • What out-of-network charges will you be responsible for?
  • Will a high-deductible plan cost you less in the long run because of your health status, account premium discounts, and other incentives?
  • Do you have significant health care needs and visit the doctor frequently? If so, will it be more affordable to choose a lower-deductible plan?

Consider employer-sponsored plans seriously before turning to the Healthcare Marketplace.

If you are dissatisfied with your employer's options, you can purchase private insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace during open enrollment.

However, employer-provided insurance is often much cheaper than similar plans available through the marketplace.

If you plan to forgo your employer's coverage, remember the following:

  • You must decline your employer's insurance during your workplace open enrollment period
  • When you decline your employer's insurance, you cannot get premium tax credits for a marketplace plan if your employer's plan is deemed "affordable" and meets a minimum value standard
  • You must sign up for private health insurance during the open enrollment period, which is November 1, 2016 - January 31, 2017

Visit Healthcare.gov or call the marketplace call center at (800) 318-2596 to learn more about purchasing private health insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace.

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