Insurance Tips To Remember During Open Enrollment
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.
Founding partner Frank N. Darras joined Pozsik of “Health, Wealth and Happiness” to discuss tips to help you make the most of open enrollment and find the best coverage to fit your ever-changing needs.
Don’t keep the same coverage without reviewing it closely.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 49 percent of Americans receive health insurance through an employer-sponsored plan. Unfortunately, many of us end up picking a plan and sticking with it for years.
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, 2018 – December 15, 2018
Don’t forget about other types of insurance
Many employees offer other types of coverage, such as disability and/or life insurance. However, these policies are often basic, no-frills options that may not meet your specific needs. Open enrollment is the perfect time to review any available coverage and reassess your insurance needs.
If you determine you need additional disability or life insurance, you may be able to add supplemental insurance to the employer-sponsored basic plan for a small additional cost.
While you can seek additional, private coverage any time, it is much more cost-effective to purchase supplemental coverage during open enrollment.