The health insurance Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is here, and you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Sifting through all the different health insurance options available to you in your region can be tricky, but you know you and your family need to have health insurance to be protected. Don’t worry, though, if you work with a knowledgeable EZ agent, you’ll be able to find an affordable plan that will give you exactly what you’re looking for. Before you do that, we’re going to give you some guidance on how to start looking for the right plan for you.
What Is Open Enrollment?
The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is the one time during the year when you can change, cancel, or purchase a new health insurance plan. Depending on what state you live in, it begins on November 1st and lasts until mid-to-late January. It is the perfect time to assess your current health insurance plan, check if it’s going to change in the new year, and decide if it will fit your future needs or if it’s time to get a new plan.
Terms You Need to Know
If you’re looking at plans, you will come across some terms that might be unfamiliar to you, or that maybe you’ve never fully understood. To get a full understanding of your options, you should feel comfortable with the following terms::
- Premium– The amount you need to pay per month to keep your health insurance plan active.
- Deductible– The amount you will need to pay for healthcare services before your health insurance kicks in and pays the rest of your bills. For example, if you have a $2,000 deductible, you will have to pay that amount in medical bills before your plan covers your healthcare expenses.
- Network- A group of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare professionals that are covered by your plan.
- Copay– A set amount you will pay when you see a healthcare professional. For example, you might have to pay $20 every time you see your primary care doctor and $30 when you see a specialist.
- Coinsurance– The percentage you’ll pay for healthcare services after you meet your deductible. For example, you might have to pay 20% of a covered service, so if a procedure costs $200, you’ll pay $40.
- Out-of-pocket maximum- The most you will pay out-of-pocket per year for your healthcare. Typically this will include your copays, coinsurance, and deductible.
- High-deductible health plan (HDHP)- A type of plan that has a high deductible and lower premium. You can also get a health savings account (HSA) alongside a HDHP that allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars towards qualified medical expenses. These types of plans are typically best for people who are healthy and do not see the doctor often.
- Exclusion- What your plan will not cover – for example, cosmetic surgery.
When trying to select the right health insurance plan for you and your family, you will come across many different choices. The right one for you will depend on your lifestyle, the doctors you want to see, and any medical equipment you need or medications that you take regularly. You should also take into consideration if you have children, especially if they play sports and might need to go to the emergency room.
You will also need to think about any possible changes in your life in the upcoming year. For example, will you be starting a family, getting married, going through a divorce, or any other life-changing event that will affect how much health insurance you need? Any of these events will mean you’ll need to reconsider your coverage.
In addition, you should look carefully at the different types of plans available, including HMOs and PPOs. With an HMO, you will get lower premiums, but you will be limited to a restricted network. PPOs, or preferred provider organizations, on the other hand, have a larger network. You will also have different metal tears to choose from which offer a range of coverage options and price points. Generally, the difference between the tiers lies in what percentage of your expenses the plan covers.
Last but not least, you should look into subsidies that you might qualify for, especially now that they have been extended through the American Rescue Plan Act. You may now qualify for subsidies that you might not have qualified for a year or two ago. This is why it’s very important to work with a knowledgeable agent who can go over all of your needs to make sure you find the perfect plan for you and your family.
Comparing plans is the best way to find an affordable plan that provides the right level of coverage for you. Before you start doing the work of comparing on your own, come to EZ. We will make the process quicker and easier by comparing available plans in your area in minutes. Our licensed agents work with all the top-rated insurance companies in the nation and can go over your budget and needs, and find the best plan for you and your family. We compare plans and offer guidance at no cost to you. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-350-1890.
C0-written by Minerva Landon