DENVER — As we near the end of the year, there is a lot on our minds, but we cannot forget about Open Enrollment. When it comes time to choosing a healthcare plan, one size does not fit all. It can be a confusing thing to navigate, so it’s important to know all the facts as you make these big decisions.
Enrollment periods aren’t the same for everyone, so there are key dates to keep in mind depending on your situation.
For the more than 178 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many employers set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.
For the more than 64 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.
For most people, changes made during this time will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
If this is your first time choosing your health care coverage, don’t stress! It’s true, the process of finding a plan or deciding whether to make coverage changes can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Focus on three key things: Choice, Care, and Experience. This will help take the stress out of the process, help you make an informed decision, and potentially save you money.
Let’s Talk “Choice”
You want to find the coverage that fits best for you and your family, so it’s important to take the time to explore all your choices, as well as understand the benefits and cost of each plan.
Start looking early. This allows you time to ask important questions and get answers you understand.
Does your current coverage meet all your needs?
Pay attention to more than just the monthly premium. You should also understand the other out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles and copays. Even if you don’t expect to change plans, it’s important to check whether your medications will still be covered next year to help avoid cost surprises.
Here’s something to think about, UnitedHealthcare’s recent survey revealed that among people taking prescriptions, nearly two-thirds (64%) said they “never” know the cost of the medications before leaving the doctor’s office.
Let’s Focus On “Care”
It’s important to not only focus on access to doctors and hospitals; you’ll want to be sure to look for a plan that offers benefits and features that are important to you. Find a plan that will allow you to seek the right level of care when you need it.
Make sure your preferred doctors and hospitals are available to you on the plan that you are considering. Access to affordable, quality care is an important consideration when choosing a plan.
Given the COVID-19 climate, think about considering a plan that includes 24/7 telehealth coverage, which is an increasingly popular service because of the pandemic and an ideal way for you to talk to your doctor about minor health issues from the comfort of your own home.
It’s not just about medical care. Don’t forget about dental, vision and other additional benefits! Additional benefits, such as dental, vision, hearing are often lower-cost options that can help protect you from head to toe.
What We Mean By “Experience”
Health care can feel complex and confusing. That’s why it’s important to find a plan that offers resources to help you live a healthier life and make the most of your benefits. Take advantage of wellness programs!
Many people are surprised to learn that their plan offers benefits, programs and resources that can support them in their efforts to live a healthy life. For example, many UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans provide access to wellness and fitness benefits, like Renew Active, which offers access to participating gyms and fitness locations at no additional cost.
If you have employer-provided coverage, you can save money by selecting a plan that rewards you for participating in wellness programs or gives discounts on gym memberships.
Stay connected to your health through mobile apps and online resources. Health care apps and online tools can help people locate a health care professional or check if their doctors are in-network, compare treatment costs, review claims, and find more information about their health plans.
What you should know
- Review your current benefit levels, do they meet your needs?
- Think about copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and out of pocket limits
- Are my doctors in network?
- Are my prescriptions covered?
- UHC has tools to help
- Visit uhc.openenrollmnet.com for further information
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