Disclaimer: This post about choosing your health plan is sponsored by Anthem as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. However all opinions expressed are my own.
For years deciding on a health insurance plan was a source of stress for me, especially when you add kids to the mix. When I was younger, by default I was under my parents’ insurance, but once I got a job and started making a decent living, I took over that responsibility and signed up for whatever insurance my employer was offering. I remember during my first pregnancy, my husband and I quickly discovered that not all insurance plans are alike. I remember reviewing my insurance with my husband’s insurance and we noticed something that was necessary for our current stage in life. My insurance covered 100% childbirth, including doctor visits, prenatal care, hospital visits, etc., where as my husband’s only covered 90%. Hello have you seen the bill for a hospital stay, it can get expensive. Needless to say, we decided to keep mine because it was what we needed at that point in our lives.
Learn From These Mistakes Before Choosing Your Health Plan
- Not assessing your needs – When it comes time to decide on your insurance plan, your first step is in deciding what your needs are. Each family has different medical needs; some require more hospital and doctor visits than others. So it’s critical to have a run down of what you desire in a plan. Take a look at your past medical needs and use that as a starting benchmark. Also keep in mind what your budget allows. Do you have a pre-existing condition? What insurance does your doctor accept? Are you willing to switch doctors if needed? What type of premiums and deductible are you comfortable paying out of pocket? All these questions might seem insignificant now but once you switch you’re stuck with whoever you choose for at least a year. Our insurance plan is pretty lenient when it comes to out of network visits, so make sure you know what the rules are regarding the plan you pick. When your doctor isn’t available, are you the type of family to visit the ER or go to urgent care? Does the insurance offer a nurse line? These are some of the questions my family uses in determining which insurance we pick. Do you travel frequently, does your insurance cover emergency visits when you’re abroad?
- Not doing your research – Knowledge is power. When it comes time to decide on your insurance plan, do through research on what’s out there. What plan would fit your needs? Is it a PPO, HMO, POS, HSA? Does the plan pay for generic or brand when it comes to prescriptions? Would you benefit from a FSA? Are you okay paying an out of pocket fee? Learn about the referral process, so you’re aware of any limitations. We’ve had to visit a specialist on a few occasions and finding out we can’t just book an appointment without a referral was a blow we weren’t prepared for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you sign on the dotted line.
- Not asking for help. Health insurance is important for protecting your health and your financial future, but navigating health insurance and the health care system can often be confusing. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your friends and ask if they have any experience, positive or negative. Anthem offers resources to help you better understand your options. For more information, go to navigatingopenenrollment.com or HealthCare.gov
Financial Impact of Health Coverage Choices
As we embark on the open enrollment period, I just want to make sure you’re well informed and making the right choice for your family, whatever that may be. Not making the right decision could cost you in the long run. Below is an infographic that shows the financial impact of health coverage choices.