Health Insurance Open Season
The 2017 open season is from November 14th - December 12th, 2016.
Choosing the right health insurance plan for you and your family can be overwhelming. There are a lot of different aspects to consider. First and foremost are the monthly premiums. Keep in mind that cheaper is not always better in this department. Sometimes you get what you pay for and cheap coverage could cost you way more in the long run.
Second, what are you and your family’s medical needs for the upcoming year? Surgeries, chronic illness, and specialist visits are just a few spendy issues that you may want to consider and compare plan coverage’s on.
Third, compare how much you will pay out of pocket for services. Does the plan have copays for doctor visits or will you be paying toward your deductible and co insurance? How much is the out-of-pocket maximum (the most you will pay out of pocket a year) Are there services that are not covered by the plan that you will need that you would have to pay completely out of pocket for? These are all things I suggest you compare when looking at plans.
Fourth, are your current doctors considered “in the network” for the plans you are looking at? You get substantially cheaper rates for using in network providers with almost all plans. All health insurance companies should have an online site in which you can check who is in network for them prior to signing up for the plan.
Last, do you take regular prescriptions? What are the copays or coinsurance rates for them? Are your prescriptions covered by the plan? Is your pharmacy in network for the plans you are comparing? Do they offer cheaper rates for mail order prescriptions?
I know the process is overwhelming. It’s better to start researching plans early rather than on the last day of open enrollment. Check out opm.gov. You can compare several health plans at once on there. It’s a great tool!
The NALC has three health plans as well. Since 1950, the NALC Health Benefit Plan has provided letter carriers and their families with first-rate health insurance. The NALC’s health plan is a natural choice—as the only health plan owned and operated by letter carriers; it pays particular attention to their health needs. And because NALC health benefit plan is a not-for-profit organization, its only focus is the health of its members.
Some of the benefits of the NALC plan are access to real live humans to answer your questions when you call. They cover foot orthotics (Most plans do not cover these). Free help to quit smoking including nicotine replacement at no additional cost to you. The High plan also has several additional benefits. Check out nalchbp.org. You can read plan details for each plan.
Regardless of whether you select one of the NALC plans or not, please take the time to research your options. Whatever you select, you are stuck with for another year. Just sticking with what you’ve always had could be unnecessarily costing you extra cash.