Transcript: 7 tips for choosing your health plan

A woman in a blue jacket stands outside in front of some trees and grass.

WOMAN: It’s that time of year again when millions of Americans across the country will have the opportunity to select or switch their health insurance benefits for the coming year. 

But health insurance enrollment periods aren’t the same for everyone, so here are key dates to keep in mind:

§  For the more than 170 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many employers set aside a two to three week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.

§  For the more than 67 million people eligible for Medicare, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7 each year.

White screen with blue text appears.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          For those with employer-provided coverage, Open Enrollment occurs within a two-week period between September and December.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.

WOMAN: Choosing a health plan may feel overwhelming, so here are a handful of tips to help you pick the best health insurance plan for you. 

A close-up shows a pair of hands typing on a laptop.

WOMAN: A good first step toward understanding your options is know the lingo.

The woman walks on the wooden deck towards the camera near a man sitting at a table working on his laptop.

WOMAN: What's a premium, deductible, or co-insurance? Understanding those terms is important for making informed decisions. And if you want to decode it all, a website like is a great place to start.

A close-up shows a pair of hands opening a black zippered lunch box.

WOMAN: Knowing how to get the most of your prescription benefits may help you manage the logistics and cost of your medications.

A woman walks up to sit beside a man at a table, opening his lunch box.

WOMAN: For example, check with your health plan or doctor to see if lower-cost pharmacy options including generics and mail order might work for you.

A man is shown taking out a sandwich, apple and a daily pill box and setting it on the table. He picks up the pill box, opens the Monday slot and pours the pills into his hand.

WOMAN: Also, many people may be surprised to find out that Original Medicare doesn’t generally cover prescription drugs. You may want to consider a Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan to help keep your medication costs in check. 

An iPad is shown laying on a countertop. A man sits at the counter and picks up the tablet.

WOMAN: It's not always easy to make time for an in-office doctor's appointment.

The woman in the orange jacket stands next to the man by the countertop.

WOMAN: Consider a plan that offers 24/7 virtual visits.

The man taps the screen of the tablet.

WOMAN: You can talk to a doctor about common health issues in real time right from your device in the comfort of your own home.

A man is seated on the floor on a yoga mat, with his eyes closed, meditating.

WOMAN: Managing your mental health is an important step of caring for your overall well-being.

A woman seated on her own yoga mat is shown next to the man.

WOMAN: In addition to in-person behavioral health care, consider looking for a health plan that also offers access to a large virtual health network of therapists and psychiatrists.

A close-up shows the man’s hands and the man meditating.

WOMAN: Some health insurers also offer advocacy services to help members find the right therapist and care.

A young girl draws on a piece of paper with a marker.

A woman sits between two young girls drawing at a table. She talks and laughs with them.

The woman in the orange jacket walks up and sits at the table near them.

WOMAN: Expecting a big change next year like a growing family or upcoming surgery? A good rule of thumb is to compare differences between plan designs and out-of-pocket limits to be as prepared as you can for what's around the corner.

A close-up shot shows the handle of a rowing machine moving back and forth, in and out of view.

The woman in the blue jacket walks up behind a man exercising on the rowing machine.

WOMAN: If you are already taking steps towards better health, many health plans will reward you for the hard work, offering financial incentives for exercising, not smoking, even taking a health survey.

The man exhales as he repeats repetitions on the machine.

The woman stands next to the man on the machine and addresses the camera.

WOMAN: Many Medicare Advantage plans even offer gym memberships at no additional cost.

A close-up shot shows a woman holding a coffee mug.

A woman sits on a couch next to someone else and laughs.

Four women sit on a couch and chat while holding coffee mugs. The woman in the orange jacket sits on a chair and addresses the camera.

WOMAN: Those with commercial insurance and those on Medicare may want to look into specialty benefits like dental, vision, and hearing insurance. You may be surprised to learn Medicare doesn't always cover those extras, but many Medicare Advantage plans do. So do your research before selecting a plan.

The screen fades to white and blue text appears.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          United


Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare.