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Thankfully my husband’s employer offers medical insurance in which our whole family is enrolled in. His employer only has open enrollment one time a year which is now. During this time it can be stressful as We sit and discuss what plan our family needs. Over the last eight years we have altered our plan if I was pregnant, now with five children we are re-thinking our plan for the up and coming year we scour the different options and plans to decide what best suits our family. The insurance company that his employer uses is quite a large company however, we have had several situations when we have been disappointed. Things such as the fine print between individual and family plans. The fine print can be confusing and most times I do not even understand it so my husband asks a lot of questions during their open enrollment period.
Questions we ask ourselves:
What are the different premiums for each plan? Just because one premium maybe less than others does not necessarily mean that it’s the best plan. The old saying goes into play, you get what you pay for.
What are the deductibles? This is a big question we ask ourselves because what if we do not meet our deductible?
Are there co-pays and if so how much are they? Is it better to pay a high deductible and a lower co-pay? Do the math and see what works out best.
My husband also uses the health care providers estimation cost tool. He figures all the different options as well as the money that is involved to see what’s not just best for our family of seven but what is affordable at the same time.
Aflac recently took a survey and compiled an in-depth study about American’s and their understanding of Open Enrollment and insurance usage. The Open Enrollment Survey shows scary statistics that show most Americans either do not understand their benefits or are not making the most of the benefits that are available to them. In most cases, employers were not providing adequate information to their employees about Open Enrollment and the coverage options available to them. Even if you are satisfied with your current insurance, your benefits plan changes from year to year and it is up to you (and/or your spouse) to be aware of what next year may bring. Just because your insurance may cover something this year it may not cover it the following year. During Open Enrollment, research upcoming changes and decide if you need to switch insurance providers.
I have known people who just pick any plan without doing their homework or did not understand the choices and it has resulted in costly mistakes. According to Aflac, 56 percent of employees estimate they waste up to $750 because of mistakes made with insurance benefits elections. I realize it maybe time-consuming and boring but spend the time and do your research your options. Do not just stick with the plan you had last year because you do not want to be bothered, do your research!
What about you? When is your Open Enrollment period? Are you going to sit done and weigh out your different options for you and your family? Will your plan stay the same or will it change? Aflac has a number of open enrollment resources that can help you with your research and decision-making.