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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
Consumer tips from the Better Business Bureau, job-search advice and technology news.
Tips to save money this open enrollment season for health insurance
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Consumer tips from the Better Business Bureau, job-search advice and technology news compiled by GateHouse News Service. From ideas for starting a business, to interviewing, to career education, we have you covered at all levels of employment. Plus, ...
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Consumer tips from the Better Business Bureau, job-search advice and technology news compiled by GateHouse News Service. From ideas for starting a business, to interviewing, to career education, we have you covered at all levels of employment. Plus, weekly updates on what's new and buzzworthy in the technology field.
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ARA health care

 



As open enrollment season draws near, it is important to understand your health insurance options, as it's one of the biggest benefits provided by your employer. Most companies typically set aside a two-week period between September and December for open enrollment. So be prepared, because if you miss this window of opportunity you likely cannot enroll in or change your health coverage until next fall.



"When reviewing their health coverage options, 50 percent of people spend only an hour or less reviewing their choices," says Rebecca Madsen, senior vice president of UnitedHealthcare. "But in many cases, consumers who spend quality time reviewing their health plan options can find ways to save money - whether it's through selecting a plan that better fits their expected health costs in the coming year, making sure their doctors are in their insurer's care provider network or evaluating prescription drug coverage."



Madsen suggests the following tips and tools to help prepare for open enrollment:



1. Set aside enough time to review your health insurance options. It's important to review each of the health insurance plans that your employer offers. Remember that there's more to each plan than co-pays and premiums. For example, some plans offer vision exam coverage and different prescription drug coverage, while others may offer wellness programs that can lead to discounts on your premiums. Also keep in mind that health reform has changed insurance coverage in recent years. As part of the new law, children under age 26 can be enrolled as dependents on their parent's plan, and many preventive care services, such as children's immunizations or mammograms, are typically covered by health plans at no cost to you.



2. Make sure your doctor is in-network - it can save you money on out-of-pocket costs. Even if you don't plan to make any changes to your health insurance this year, it's always good to ensure that any doctor you see regularly - or plan to visit in the coming year - is in your plan's care provider network. If you plan to visit a doctor or hospital outside of the network, be sure to understand how your costs will differ from an in-network care provider.



3. Look for incentive-based wellness programs. Many companies are promoting wellness programs that reward employees for making healthy choices and being more engaged in their own health. These plans could save up to $1,000 or more on annual premiums. Incentive-based programs provide financial rewards for things such as meeting specific cholesterol or body mass index targets, or even signing up for a telephonic or online health coaching program.

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