Doctor holding hands and smiling with older patient
Open enrollment is coming up, so be sure to get prepared for a new policy or changes to an existing one.

If you’re looking to enroll in a health insurance policy or want to make some changes to the one you’ve currently got, you’ll need to wait for the open enrollment period to buy a new plan or modify an existing one.

Open enrollment is right around the corner, which means now is as good a time as any to start prepping for the upcoming open enrollment period. That way, you’ll be ready to buy into the right plan or make the appropriate changes to an existing one to reflect your current situation.  

Here are some tips to help you get prepared.

Look Into All Your Options

If you’re a salaried employee, inquire about any employer-based health insurance plans available. If there are none offered at work, you’ll need to start looking into private insurance, a policy on the Health Insurance Marketplace, or some other alternative to handle your healthcare expenses.

Understand Your Needs

Every family and individual has different medical needs. You or a family member may have a chronic medical condition, for instance, that requires ongoing care. Or perhaps you want to be financially ready in the event of an emergency so you know you can adequately cover the cost of an emergency room visit.

Even if you and your family are relatively healthy, it still helps to have a way to manage the cost of a doctor’s visit in case it’s needed. Make sure to choose a plan that covers both known and surprise future needs and weigh both the costs and benefits.

Doctor talking to patient
Health care sharing ministries provide a more flexible alternative to the more restrictive health insurance policies.

Find Out What’s Covered

Make sure you get all the details about everything that’s covered — and not covered — under the plan you’re considering. Consider the services that are important to you and your family, and make sure these are covered under the plan you ultimately choose.

Look Into the Provider Network

You may already have a physician with whom you’re comfortable. If so, inquire about whether or not you can continue seeing that doctor under the plan you choose. Look into the provider network and make sure your chosen health care practitioner or hospital is within that network.

Calculate All Costs

A health insurance policy comes with regular premiums to be paid, so make sure that you’ve budgeted accordingly. In addition to your premiums, you’ll also want to factor in any out-of-pocket expenses that you may need to pay, like copays for prescription medication or doctor appointments. Further, consider the deductible that you’ll need to pay every year before your insurance policy kicks in.

Consider Other Options

Health insurance may be one way to help manage the cost of medical bills, but there are other options available that may be more affordable and flexible. Health care sharing ministries are a viable option for those not interested in a traditional health insurance plan. Not only can they save you between 30% to 40% compared to health insurance policies, but they also don’t limit you to a specific time frame to enroll. Instead, you can sign up any time of the year!

If you’re looking for a program that offers cost savings and more flexibility, get in touch with a representative from UHSM today to learn how to share the health.