Plan ahead for open enrollment: Sponsored | TheUnion.com

Plan ahead for open enrollment: Sponsored

Mary Beth TeSelle
Special to The Union

Every autumn, businesses throughout our area offer open enrollment opportunities for their employees.

This opportunity comes just once a year but can have a big impact on your family.

To make the most of your choices during open enrollment, it's important to understand what your choices are and what effect these choices have on the health care you and your family will receive in the coming year.

Here a few tips to help you understand the process as well as the options available to you:

To make the most of your choices during open enrollment, it’s important to understand what your choices are …

— Ask questions. Talk to your Human Resources representative and find out when your open enrollment deadline is. Ask what changes have been made to your options in the past year, including changes in health care plans and changes in cost to you. — Compare, compare, compare! Look at the plan choices you have and compare the out-of-pocket costs, the deductibles, the coverage, and the in-network physicians.

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— Prioritize. Determine what is most important to you. Your priority may be keeping your doctor or having access to a certain hospital or keeping your cost low. Once you know your priorities, making your choices will be easier.

— Plan Ahead: Many people choose a health insurance plan for where their life is right now. However, it is important to plan ahead and try to anticipate what your family's medical needs may be in the coming year.

Elective surgeries, pregnancies, vision or dental needs can all have an impact on your health care choices. All of these considerations can affect which plan you choose (including whether you need a PPO or HMO) and also how much money you need to set aside in a flexible spending account, if that is an option for you.

— Consider life changes: A lot can happen in 12 months, so consider what will be happening in your life in the coming year before you make your health care choices. Are you getting married? Having a baby? Changing careers? Is your child moving out of your house and onto his or her own insurance coverage? All of these life changes can have a big impact on what type of health insurance you need. Plan ahead!

— Understand what you are signing up for: It can be overwhelming trying to decipher insurance paperwork. Figuring out co-pays, deductibles, premiums — it can feel like a different language. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the terminology so that you can compare your choices appropriately. Again, time spent now can save you money down the road and ensure that the coverage you need is available to you.

Learn more about your open enrollment options by visiting our website at Dignityhealth.org/openenrollment.

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