It is that time of the year again, Open Enrollment for health insurance.
For those who do not receive coverage through an employer or other programs like Medicare, this can be a stressful time. Trying to find the best health coverage for you and your family should not be a daunting task, so we have put together some helpful tips on how to better prepare for open enrollment.
Take your time
Looking at a long list of plans and comparing prices can be confusing and overwhelming. It is not one size fits all when it comes to health insurance so take your time looking through the plans and deciding which one fits you best.
Do your research
If you have certain doctors, hospitals or prescription plans you want covered under your new health plan, make sure to have those on hand when you go to pick coverage or to give to your agency so they can check for you. Some plans keep their name, but change their benefits, so beware. If you are happy with your coverage and just plan to keep the same plan, make sure to read over the benefits to make sure they have stayed the same.
Gather all your info
You will need to know your household income and current coverage information to renew or apply for new coverage. Determine how much you can afford each month for premium payments as well.
Consider the past year
Are there things you like about your current plan? Things you did not like? Make notes of these things to help you best pick a plan for this year.
If you have questions about a plan or are confused, do not be afraid to ask your agent who is helping you. They are the specialist, not you. You don’t want to end up with a plan that does not fit your needs.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Yes, open enrollment is November 1 – December 15th, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until December 14th to start the process. What if you don’t have all the info you need? You also don’t want to pick a plan because you feel pressured or are in a hurry.
Open Enrollment Timeline
Nov. 1, 2018:
Open Enrollment starts — first day you can enroll, re-enroll, or change you individual health insurance plan. Coverage can start as soon as Jan. 1, 2019.
Dec. 15, 2018:
The last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start Jan. 1, 2019. After this date, you can enroll or change plans ONLY if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Jan. 1, 2019:
Coverage for the year starts for those who enroll or change plans by Dec. 15, 2018.