When you select a health plan, the decision can have a big impact throughout the year – both on the type of care you receive and what you pay for it. That’s why it’s so important to take time and choose your plan wisely.
It’s a good idea to set aside time each year during open enrollment — the period of time when you can select a health plan for the following year — to carefully review and consider your options.
First, look at how the plans’ costs are structured and then think about how you use health care services. If you are young, healthy, and rarely see a doctor, you may want to select a plan that has a lower monthly cost (premium) but requires you to pay more out of your pocket when you need care. If you have a team of doctors managing your care and you visit them often, a plan with a higher monthly cost and lower fees for visits might be more affordable over the course of the plan year.
In addition, take a close look at the plan’s benefit summary, especially if you are anticipating any significant health events in the coming year. The summary document – which you receive from your employer or can find online when shopping on a health insurance exchange – will explain the coverage and costs associated with different types of services, such as prenatal care, surgery, and hospital stays. If you only consider monthly costs and costs for doctor visits when choosing your plan, you could end up facing high costs for other types of care.