Marketplace Health Insurance: 4 Open Enrollment 2018 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs (Updated)
This post was originally published on 01/02/2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
Open Enrollment for Marketplace health insurance is in full swing and you don’t want to miss it.
Remember: The deadline for enrolling is December 15, 2017, in order for your coverage to begin January 1, 2018.
In fact, many people let the occasion pass them by and miss out on real benefits. According to one study, 63 percent of people choose a plan that’s not the best one in terms of cost effectiveness, and most people choose a plan that is more costly than they need.
The primary reason people make poor choices is that selecting a health insurance plan is confusing. There are approximately 50 plans on the Marketplace. That’s a lot of plans to wade through!
No wonder it’s easy to make “mistakes” with your health insurance.
Here are some common errors people make with their health insurance and tips for avoiding them.
1. Letting open enrollment pass you by
Don’t automatically re-enroll in your health insurance plan! This is perhaps the worst mistake you make during open enrollment.
You could save money and lower your premiums by switching plans.
The solution: Take the opportunity to work with a trusted advisor and review your options. From one year to the next, carriers may make sweeping changes to their plans, such as adding and deleting doctors and changing prescription med coverage.
2. Misunderstanding your needs
The best way to calculate your healthcare needs is to estimate how much you’ll spend on healthcare in the upcoming year. Then, you can review plans with low and high deductibles, for example, and choose the right one for you.
However, research shows that most people don’t take the time to do this step.
The solution: Sure, surprises come up, like appendix surgery or a new diagnosis. However, it pays to review what you spend on premiums last year versus what you paid for medications and claims. Determining your total out-of-pocket costs will help you properly evaluate whether your existing plan still suits your needs.
3. Automatically choosing a low premium plan
Choosing a plan based on the premium only can lead to higher spending. This approach may result in you spending a lot more money out of pocket.
The solution: Take premiums into account, but also factor in the deductible – or how much you’ll spend before your carrier begins paying for services. Keep in mind the co-pay, co-insurance and the out-of-pocket maximum that you’ll be responsible for as you choose a plan.
4. Sticking by your doctor
Choosing a plan just because you’ll be able to keep your doctor isn’t always the wisest choice. The plan may offer a limited choice in hospitals and specialists, for example.
The solution: Make sure your plan offers a broad range of options for both in-network and out-of-network providers. For example, if your plan doesn’t offer any coverage for out-of-network providers, you’ll be responsible for 100 percent of that cost. Alternatively, you could choose a plan that lets you see your doctor, but covers 80 percent of out-of-network services.
The bottom line
Make sure to work with an expert when selecting your health plan.
InsureOne Benefits is here to help you wade through the confusing Marketplace options and ensure you choose an affordable plan that has the benefits you need.