5 health plan features to look for during open enrollment

During open enrollment season for health benefits, your focus may be on selecting major medical coverage to help with care and financial protection, in case you experience a health issue, illness or accident.

While those are valuable aspects of having a health plan, it is important to be aware of the additional benefits that might be available, such as vision, dental or hearing coverage. Plus, some plans may feature other programs designed to improve your well-being and help maximize the value of your benefits. 

Here are five things to look for as you make benefits decisions for 2023:

1. Connected fitness support: Technology makes it possible for your workouts to come to you and be more personalized. For instance, your health plan may offer access to fitness apps and wearable devices to help you stay active.

In some UnitedHealthcare plans, eligible members have access to the Peloton App to help improve overall well-being*. The offer provides a year-long subscription to the app at no additional cost and connects members to thousands of live and on-demand classes, such as strength training, boxing, barre, outdoor running, yoga and meditation — all with no equipment required. 

Other health plan programs may provide a wearable device like a smartwatch or an activity tracker. Members who use a device to meet certain daily activity goals may earn financial incentives of approximately $1,000 per year to help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses**.   

2. Treatment of low back pain: Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends nonpharmacologic therapies as the first treatment. If the problem persists, the ACP advises nonsurgical options, such as exercise, physical therapy, chiropractic care or acupuncture.

Some UnitedHealthcare members with low back pain may have access to these noninvasive treatments at no additional cost, including waived deductibles and copays. This benefit for physical therapy and chiropractic care, which is available in plans through some large employers, is designed to help:

— Make care more affordable

— Improve health

— Avoid unnecessary, potentially harmful treatments

The app option: Another potential option is a self-paced program called Virtual Physical Therapy. It uses the Kaia Health app to help guide eligible members through physical therapy exercises***. Motion coaching for exercises, mind-body relaxation techniques and educational videos are all included.

3. Vision protection and improvement: Our digital world has many people logging long in front of screens, resulting in increased exposure to blue light. This excess screen time may contribute to digital eye strain, which includes symptoms such as dry eyes and headaches.

To help reduce exposure to blue light, eligible UnitedHealthcare Vision members may have access to discounts of up to 20% on Eyesafe® blue-light-blocking screen protectors for smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. They may also be able to save on laptops with embedded blue-light filtering technology.

Your vision benefits may also include support for correcting your eyesight. For example, you may be eligible for a member discount for LASIK, a surgery that uses a laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea to improve vision.

4. Dental care for teeth straightening: Leaving crooked teeth untreated might not only affect your willingness to smile but may also lead to problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Funds from a health savings account or a flexible spending account can be used to address dental issues, including misaligned teeth.

One option may be home-delivered clear aligners for improving your smile. Some dental plans with orthodontic coverage help connect members to a licensed dentist and reimburse qualifying costs for personalized clear teeth aligners.

5. Help with hearing aids: A growing number of people are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds. Nearly 29 million adults in the U.S. with hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids, according to the National Institutes of Health.

With some employer-sponsored or Medicare Advantage plans, you may be able to buy custom-programmed, prescription hearing aids for less than devices sold through other channels****. To streamline the process even further, virtual hearing care options may offer improved convenience and help with remote fitting and support.

For more ideas on features that may be in your health plan options, check out this quick video:


* The Peloton offering is available to members enrolled in applicable fully insured UnitedHealthcare plans who are 18+ years of age and register for an account with Peloton. Offer is valid until June 30, 2023. Members and participants that own a Peloton Bike, Bike+ or Tread can redeem a 3-month All-Access Membership. Limit one code redemption per member and participant. All services provided by Peloton directly to consumers are governed by Peloton’s Membership Terms, located at https://www.onepeloton.com/membershipterms. The information provided under this program is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be nor should be construed as medical advice. Members and participants should consult with an appropriate health care professional before beginning any exercise program and/or to determine what may be right for them. The value of this offering may be taxable. Members and participants should consult with an appropriate tax professional to determine if they have any tax obligations from having access to this offering at no additional cost.

**Financial incentives may be less due to limits under applicable laws.

*** The information provided through Back Pain Solutions and/or the Kaia app are for informational purposes only. Kaia staff cannot diagnose problems or suggest treatment. The program and app are not a substitute for your doctor’s care. Members are encouraged to discuss with their doctor how the information provided may be right for them. Your health information is kept confidential in accordance with the law. Back Pain Solutions and Kaia app are not an insurance program and may be discontinued at any time. This program and its components may not be available in all states or for all group sizes and is subject to change. Coverage exclusions and limitations may apply.

**** The cost of hearing aids as well as the method of paying for them varies by plan. Medicare Advantage members should refer to their Evidence of Coverage document or call the number on their health plan ID card to confirm the cost and payment method for their plan.