Let me preface this 5-part blog series with a friendly disclaimer:
- The information presented is intended for general education purposes about health benefits.
- All terms, concepts, and lessons have been simplified for easy viewing and consumption.
- Each person’s situation is different. Please talk to your Human Resources department / representative(s), along with the appropriate vendor(s) & insurance broker(s) responsible for offering and administering your company’s health benefits, about your circumstances and available options.
As of this writing, Open Enrollment is either here or right around the corner for many working Americans.
If you’re one of them, will you spend just 15 minutes or less:
- Picking a new health plan (possibly with the lowest premium)?
- Or auto-enroll in your current one (if it’s still being offered)?
Keep in mind that while health insurance can make up a significant portion of a household’s budget, consumers spend hours researching and shopping for less expensive things like a TV and car, or planning a trip.
I get it.
I’m one of those consumers.
I bet you are too.
At the end of the day, we all want to make sure we made the right “choice” and “investment”.
HOWEVER, chances are that, unlike you, I’ve spent my entire professional career in healthcare (going on 20 years), so I know a thing or two about health insurance and why it’s important to invest more time figuring out what coverage is best (for me).
And so should you.
Whether you’re just entering the workforce or a seasoned professional, my goal – medASTUTE’s goal – is to make the Open Enrollment experience less painful by providing you some key “pearls of wisdom”.
Over the next few days, I’ll be covering a different topic. They include:
- The basics part 1: definitions
- The basics part 2: math
- Consumer profile part 1: needs & requirements
- Consumer profile part 2: finances
I encourage you to read on and even share these posts with others – loved ones, friends, co-workers – who will be going through the enrollment process too.
But first things first…
Mark your calendar!
Typically, Open Enrollment occurs in the fall (although the exact enrollment timeframe can vary by employer) and, unless you have special circumstances, you will not be able to change your selection if you miss the deadline. Your employer’s Human Resources department should be reaching out to share this information with you if it hasn’t already.
Special circumstances, known as “qualifying events”, include things like having a baby, moving to a new state, and getting married. These events trigger a Special Enrollment period (SEP) which allows you to enroll in health insurance at a time aside from Open Enrollment.
So far, so good?
Yes, but what I’m about to discuss next – health insurance basics – may surprise and overwhelm you. And to be frank, it should, but ONLY if you’ve never gone through this kind of experience before.
My goal is to write about the basics of health insurance in an approachable and engaging way. But chances are you’ll read the 2nd and 3rd installments of this Open Enrollment series more than once. And that’s ok. In fact, I’m counting on it.
There will be nuggets of information in them that I hope you’ll use right away and will prompt you to learn more.
Until next time…