Open enrollment period is underway, what you should know


JACKSONVILLE, Fla.More than 12 million Floridians soon select or switch their health benefits plan during open enrollment, so now is the time to prepare for that important decision that usually happens once a year. 

Many employers set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year. Medicare patients’ open enrollment period is Oct.15 to Dec.7.

United Healthcare spokesperson Deacon Eckert, director of Sales for United Healthcare states that employees should know the following key information to make important choices during open enrollment 

1.Know your open enrollment dates
Open enrollment isn’t the same or at the same time for everyone, so there are key dates to keep in mind depending on your situation:

2. Take time to review your options
Every person or family has unique health and budget needs, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting a health plan. Take the time to explore your options, and understand the benefits and costs of each plan so you can find the coverage that works best for you and your family members. 

3. Make sure your doctor is in your plan’s care provider network 
Even if you don’t make any changes to your health insurance this year, it’s still a good idea to ensure that any doctor you see regularly – or plan to visit in the coming year – is in your benefit plan’s care provider network. If you plan to visit a doctor or hospital outside of the network, be sure to understand how your costs will differ from a network care provider because those costs will most likely be higher.

4.Don’t forget about additional benefits 
Additional benefits such as dental, vision, accident or critical-illness insurance are often affordable options that can protect you and your family from head to toe.

5.Take advantage of wellness programs. 
Some health plans offer discounts on gym memberships and provide financial incentives for completing health assessments, signing up for health coaching programs, lowering your cholesterol, losing weight, meeting walking goals, or stopping smoking. 

More than 70 percent of Americans say they are prepared for open enrollment, yet most people struggle to understand basic health insurance adjuster terms, according to a recent United Healthcare survey.

Only 9 percent of survey respondents could successfully define all four basic health insurance concepts: plan premium, deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum.