What You Need to Know About Open Enrollment
Your healthcare plan affects numerous areas of your life. Not only does it set forth the parameters for your medical care; it also deeply impacts your budget. So when Open Enrollment comes around each year, you definitely want to pay attention to your options.
Open Enrollment occurs between November 1 and January 31 each year. However, if you have a change in circumstances outside of the Open Enrollment window, you might qualify for a Special Enrollment period. Additionally, in response to the ongoing pandemic, some states have instituted a special enrollment period throughout the year, regardless of circumstances. So, check with your state’s guidelines if you’re considering a change to your health insurance right now. Otherwise, here’s what you need to consider before enrollment opens later this year.
Your geographic location matters. Plans are geographically based, and not all plans are available everywhere. So the first thing you want to do is determine which providers and facilities you prefer to use, and then look for a plan that includes those within its network.
Understand the tiers. Healthcare plans are organized into tiers, called Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Bronze plans have the lowest premiums and highest deductibles, whereas Platinum plans have the highest premiums and lowest deductibles. Depending upon your financial situation, it doesn’t always make sense to choose a plan based solely upon the monthly premium cost. Consider your actual usage of healthcare and your potential out-of-pocked expenses for the entire year.
If you do decide on a low-premium, high-deductible plan, consider opening a health savings account (HSA) to help you manage the cost of your deductible. You can save pre-tax dollars to be used toward your healthcare expenses.
Apply for subsidies. Depending upon your state and income, you might be eligible for subsidies to help cover the cost of premiums. Don’t forget to investigate all of the options available to you.
Ask for help. Healthcare plan experts can help match you to a plan based on your needs and budget. Call to speak to our health insurance agents and we’ll help you navigate the market and find a plan that is just right for you.