3 common mistakes to avoid when selecting a health plan

Health insurance may be one of your most important purchases each year since what you choose can affect your physical, mental and financial health.

The key is to prevent missteps that may hurt you in the long run. That’s why it’s important to dive into open enrollment details.

Three common mistakes to avoid

1. Not spending enough time on research

If you skip looking into all the options available or if you simply re-enroll with last year’s choices, you run the risk of choosing a plan that may fail to meet your unique health and budget needs for the year ahead. Plus, you may overlook choices designed to make your health care simpler and more affordable.

Choosing a plan that helps cover your needs requires careful consideration and answers to questions like:

  • How often do you see a doctor
  • Do you regularly take prescription medication?
  • Do you have any surgeries or other medical procedures scheduled?
  • Are you planning to grow your family next year?

Tip: Block off time to review and understand all your options for different scenarios, so you can choose the most appropriate coverage for your situation. Take this quiz for help in choosing a plan.

2. Misunderstanding the total cost of care

Some people focus solely on the price of premiums in a plan and fail to take into consideration other health care expenses. These are all important factors in determining your total annual cost of health care:

  • Deductibles
  • Copays
  • Coinsurance
  • Out-of-pocket maximums
  • Prescriptions

Tip: Add up what you’ve spent on health care so far this year to help decide which plan option will be the best pick for next year. Watch this video for a refresher on common health care terms.

3. Forgetting to confirm in-network coverage

Check to make sure your doctor, clinic and pharmacy are connected to your new plan. Not verifying can be a costly mistake. There can be an increased expense for care from a doctor who isn’t part of your plan or shopping at an out-of-network pharmacy.

Tip: When you're reviewing your health plan options, make a point to verify the network status of your health team and facilities:

  • Primary doctor and clinic
  • Therapists and other mental health professionals
  • Dentists and other specialty providers
  • Pharmacy

Bonus tip: Check if the plan you’re considering covers brand-name and generic versions of your regular prescriptions or specialty medications.

Learn more about the benefits of employer-sponsored plans.

Choosing a health plan

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