(BPT) – Health care coverage is a long-term investment in your health and finding the best coverage option can help ensure financial stability and wellness in the long run. Enrolling in a health insurance plan is the first step to helping families stay healthy and be at their best.
Given everyone’s unique circumstances and the varying plan options available, finding the right coverage option may seem daunting. Whether you’re a first-time enrollee or you’re just looking to learn more about health care, here are some tips that can help simplify the process of signing up.
Review your past health care expenses
Take account of your health care journey in recent years. How many times did you visit the emergency room? Are you managing a chronic condition? Or maybe you put off wellness visits, vaccinations and other important health screenings because you were concerned about the cost.
Knowing what you’ve spent in the past or what you anticipate your health needs will be can help determine the breadth of coverage you may need moving forward.
Pay special attention to the fine print
Each type of health plan is different based on what services it’ll cover, how much services and prescriptions will cost, and what doctors and hospitals you’ll be allowed to use. You’ll want to review each health care plan carefully to choose the one that best meets your needs.
When choosing between different options, consider not just the cost of the plans (the premium), but what benefits are provided, and what out-of-pocket expenses you are expected to contribute, such as co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions, and the deductible for each plan. This is where reviewing your previous year’s medical needs and expenses can be a good benchmark for identifying the plan that’s right for you.
Consider recent life changes
Any significant life change — a new job, an added family member or an increase or decrease in income — can change the insurance plan that might be the best fit for you and your family’s health care needs and budget.
Even determining financial assistance can be a challenge, as it can shift as a result of recent lifestyle changes. Out of the uninsured population in Texas, 60 percent are eligible for Medicaid or a federal subsidy.
Ask for help
To better understand your health plan options, including subsidy eligibility, or even if you’re just interested in learning the basics of health care terminology, such as the difference between an HMO plan and a PPO plan, check out BeCovered.org.
The Be Covered website has a variety of resources to help people understand their benefit options, tips on staying healthy and information on how to enroll.
Be mindful of deadlines
If you’re 65 years and older, you should keep in mind that the deadline to sign up for a Medicare plan is December 7.
If you’re exploring a health plan in the Marketplace, the deadline is December 15.
Getting your health insurance ducks in a row means being able to access a wide network of medical providers so that you can access the right care when you need it. But enrolling doesn’t have to be so complex. Consider the steps above when choosing your health coverage so you can have the security and peace of mind that comes from enrolling in a quality, affordable health plan.