5 common mistakes made during open enrollment

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There are 5 common mistakes we make during open enrollment. Finding and purchasing health insurance can be such a monumental task for us that it is easy to give up early and settle for a less than perfect plan. It is also easy to get discouraged and rush through the choices you make to get it over with.

November 1st was the beginning of open enrollment and purchasing insurance through the healthcare marketplace.  In some states, the deadline for purchasing extends past December 15th into the new year. If you have health insurance through your workplace, you may also be in open enrollment. While the beginning and end date for open enrollment may be different it is common for open enrollment to happen during the fall of the year with new policies taking effect in January.

Number 5: It is common to focus on the cost of the premiums only

That’s not the total cost of what you’re going to pay. If you’re only focusing on the premiums and not the overall cost of the healthcare plan (prescriptions, coinsurance or copays) then you’re missing out on the total cost of your insurance. You also have to consider what your deductible is going to be in case you accidentally meet it. Know the catastrophic payout or what you would pay if you maximized your plan, and then plan accordingly based on your needs.

Number 4: We all prefer to go with a company we know instead of comparing options.

Maybe you heard the name advertised or received a mailer and remember that company name. Don’t be lazy with your healthcare plan. Do the work. Research and find a company that has policies that will meet your needs. By choosing a plan based on the name only you could be paying more than you need to or missing out on better coverage. If you have a chronic condition and the cost of health insurance is a problem because you need medications covered but can’t afford a low deductible you have options. Last year, Notice 1019-45 was issued to expand the ability of patients to select HDHPs that can be used alongside a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA).

Number 3: There is nothing better than a friend’s recommendation for any product you have to purchase.

Sometimes we just go with the same plan someone else has based on their review. So, say you’re kind of tired of everything, tired of your daily job. You’re tired of COVID. You’re tired of the weather. You’re just tired, and a lot of us are there, so I get it. And you ask your friend, “What insurance do you have?” Because we have a limited time to do research and pick a health insurance plan. they tell you, “I have an HMO and I love it. It’s great and we only spend about $200 a year.”

Sign me up!!! That sounds like the healthcare plan I need.  What if they’re not telling you everything. Maybe they skipped telling you how they spend in premiums and only told you what they spend on copays. Perhaps there’s a better option for you. You could be missing out and paying too much on your insurance.

And here’s a big one, because I’ve done this, what if you get in a hurry because you don’t feel like you need to spend the time on this? I mean, really there’s so many bigger things going on right now that need your attention. Amiright?

Number 2: You rush and to pick one.

I mean, they’re all expensive. None of them really meet your needs, so you just pick the lesser of the evils. Later you find out that your doctor doesn’t accept that insurance, but you LOVE your doctor. What now? Now you have to find a new doctor that does accept your insurance. This happens quite often. I’ve made this mistake. It only takes a few minutes to check your insurance plan before you purchase it to see if your doctor is listed in-network. You can also make a quick phone call to your doctor’s office and ask if they accept this particular insurance before completing your purchase.

The number one thing that we do incorrectly when purchasing insurance

We don’t bother reviewing our plan from year-to-year. I’ve talked to three people already this year that never review their plans and they just go with what they have from last year.

What if the plan you have from last year was great but it’s not going to meet your needs for this year? What if that company has changed their plan and you haven’t bothered to look at it? You could be doing yourself a big disservice and your family if you have a spouse and kids on a health plan and you’re the one that’s doing in charge of this.

Take the time, look at what you have. See if it’s going to meet your needs. If you need help, I’m here for you. Drop your questions in the comments. Let’s get through open enrollment together.

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