Ah, November. The weather is chilly, the football is weekly, the leaves are pretty. But November isn’t just the month of light sweaters and the kick off to the season of festive gatherings. November is also the month when Open Enrollment for Health Insurance begins. And nothing says “good times” like scouring through pages of premium, deductible, and benefits comparisons on the world’s most confusing websites. Am I right?
My husband is insured through his employer but like so many Americans, our family chooses to self-insure the rest of us. As Mom CEO, the task of finding health insurance falls to me. It makes sense. I am typically the one managing the children’s health care and obviously I am the one who manages my own. I know what doctors we need and what benefits are most important to us.
Health insurance is a constant topic in every form of American media all the time. Lately, though? The rhetoric has been amped up even more and many of us are left wondering what the landscape will look like in the year to come.
I knew I wasn’t 100% happy with our current plan. The number of doctors in-network dropped dramatically from year to year and I’ve had a couple battles with them over coverage that they won. Even still, with all the uncertainty, I was unsure of how to proceed. I want the best coverage available at the best price possible but to be honest, even thinking about dealing with a change in insurance kind of makes me break out in hives. And I’m not sure if hives are covered.
I’m in real estate and like all agents, I have educational requirements I have to meet to keep my license in good standing. I was in class a few weeks back and over break I met an agent of a different variety. He helped me navigate the muddy waters of Health Insurance Open Enrollment and I am here to pass that help along to you.
- Know the basics. Jot down your monthly premium, deductible, doctor names, and key benefits you want to keep if you change.
- Get an agent. Seriously. Just do it. It doesn’t cost you a thing and they are experts. They have the know-how to make sense of all of this for you and can deliver options that are not easily found on your own. My agent does this work from home so he can be more available for his little one, and what mama wouldn’t feel good about supporting that?
- Ask about extras. By far, the benefit I use the most is Doctor on Call. When my boy is feverish and needs a basic evaluation and perhaps a prescription, I can request a call and within minutes, I’ve talked to a doctor and if needed, have medications on order at the pharmacy…all from the comfort of my home. When I asked my agent about it he said the plan he recommended had the same service under a different name. Sweet! And get this. We will also get Alternative Medicine benefits like discounts to acupuncturists and chiropractors. That was enough to make the hippie side of my heart go pitter patter!
- Keep in touch. Your agent will be available to help you moving forward. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Remember, they are experts and you matter to them. Questions about benefits, claims, coverage, discounts, and more are an email or phone call away. And unlike when you are flying solo having to deal with a giant insurance company directly, you are your agent’s client and they have your back. They will help you if you keep in touch.
Make your life a little bit easier this Open Enrollment. Call an agent. Or you can reach mine here.