At Work

Go ahead, ignore that health benefits open enrollment material

Open Season Richard Quinn  |  October 3, 2019

PICKING A HEALTH plan used to be easy. Not anymore. Today, whether you receive coverage through your employer, buy insurance on your own or are covered by Medicare, you likely face a slew of choices.

Problem is, just as too many investment options in a 401(k) plan can paralyze employees, the same happens with health care. Indeed, a third of employees say they either don’t understand or know nothing about their health care coverage, according to one survey. My experience tells me one third is optimistic.

Choosing a health plan for 2020?

If I could offer only one suggestion, it would be this: Make your choice using a holistic approach. That means considering premiums, potential out-of-pocket costs, family health status and tax advantages when choosing a health plan.

Don’t be swayed by unrealistic expectations of high medical bills or presume that higher premiums mean better coverage for you. In particular:

Don’t assume the plan you have now will be best for you in the future. Plans change. Circumstances change.

Read all the materials available. If your employer offers meetings about your benefits, try to attend, ask questions and bring your spouse if possible.

Check directly with your doctors regarding their plan participation for the following year. Be specific. Don’t ask if they take Blue Cross. Instead, ask about your specific plan.

Review the “explanation of benefits” statements you’ve received from the insurance company over the past two or three years. Add up the total allowed charges, so you get a handle on your total out-of-pocket cost.

Would you have come close to meeting the deductibles on any of the plans you’re currently being offered?

Read the full article here : Open Season – HumbleDollar

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2 replies »

  1. I get tons of open enrollment info in the mail as well as annoying telephone messages. But yesterday I received something different and more interesting… an invitation by United Healthcare for a free dinner at the local BBQ restaurant to listen to their sales pitch. The irony is, my former employer determines my insurance coverage choices [I’m on Plan F this year] because they pay the entire premium [part of my retirement benefit.]

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