Finding the best medical plan for you and your family is among the most important decisions you can make all year. But with so many options, it can also be one of the most frustrating ones. It’s important that you make the right choices during open enrollment season, because after this window closes, you can’t change your medical benefits unless you have a qualifying life event, such as marriage or the birth of a child.
Use these five tips to help you choose the best medical plan.
1. Know Your Coverage Needs
If you have a family and are covering children, your health insurance needs will be very different than those of someone who is single with dependents. Someone who is young and single may want to go with a plan with a lower premium but higher co-pays. But if you have a family with younger children, your best bet may be to go with higher premiums and lower co-pays.
2. Understand What’s Changing
You’ll want to make sure that your physicians are still covered in your network. You’ll also want to know about any changes in co-pays, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums. Also keep an eye out for what services are fully covered—often preventive services fall in this category.
3. Use Tools and Resources
Many health plans provide online calculators to help you calculate your annual medical expenses, or have tools that will compare plans. Also be sure to read your annual newsletter, it’s full of information on what’s new and what you should look out for.
4. Open A Health Savings Account (HSA)
Most companies that offer high-deductible medical plans have this option. Here’s how it works: You contribute pre-tax money from your paycheck into an account. You can use that account for eligible health care expenses. Whatever you don’t use in a plan year carries over to the next plan year. You can also take this account from job to job.
5. Fill Out The Health Risk Assessment
Many companies will ask employees to fill out a survey or questionnaire that covers your general health – in particular your weight, cholesterol, exercise habits, whether you smoke and family history. These are used to determine what wellness programs might help you live a healthier life. You might also get some cash back for filling it out.
Tell us in the comments: Who helps you sort out your potential benefits during open enrollment?
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