It’s the time of year when many of us select our health insurance plans for next year. Determining which plan is right for you and your family can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here are some questions to ask to help you evaluate your options:
What is the total cost?
The amount you pay each month is only one part of the total cost of a health plan. Make sure you understand how much you are responsible for paying when you need medical services. Do you have to meet a deductible before your insurance begins to pay? Do you have a copay or coinsurance that you’ll be responsible for when you go to the doctor or pharmacy? Also, think about how frequently you may need medical services. Are you pretty healthy and only have an occasional minor illness or injury? Or, do you have a condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure or longterm illness that may require more frequent medical care? This will help you put together an estimate of how much you’ll pay overall throughout the year.
Are my doctors and medications covered?
Confirm if any doctors you see are in the health plan’s network as well as which hospitals are in the network. If you see a doctor outside the network, you’ll end up paying more and may be responsible for the full amount. Also, if you take prescription medications on a regular basis, make sure they are covered by the plan and find out how much they’ll cost you.
Can I get discounts or financial assistance?
Individuals and families enrolling in health insurance through the Marketplace (sometimes called Obamacare) may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the federal government to lower their monthly payments. Approximately 1 million uninsured people in Florida are eligible for financial assistance and are not taking advantage of it, so don’t assume you do not qualify.
Some Florida Blue plans also include a member rewards program where you can earn money to lower your monthly payments or receive gifts cards.
Where can I get help?
You’re not alone. Our staff at the Florida Blue Center in Sarasota by UTC Mall can walk you through your options, explain the total costs and help you apply for financial assistance. If you can’t make it to a Florida Blue Center, we have 4,500 agents across the state who can also assist you. You can find one in your neighborhood at FloridaBlue.com.
Lynn Ryan is the director of the Florida Blue Center in Sarasota by UTC Mall. The Florida Blue Centers are open seven days a week during open enrollment to assist Floridians in understanding their health care options. Visit FloridaBlue.com/Centers or call the Center to make an appointment to receive face-to-face assistance with your health plan needs.