Open enrollment is a crucial time to evaluate your health coverage options for the upcoming year. Certified public accountant Charlene Rhinehart suggests using this time to do a personal health audit and understand your current and anticipated healthcare needs. Here are some important questions to consider during open enrollment:
1. Are your doctors in network? Check if your preferred doctors or specialists are still in the network of the plan you’re considering for 2024. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans usually allow you to go out of network, but at a higher cost. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) tend to be cheaper but have limited out-of-network options.
2. Are your medications covered? Review the plan formularies to ensure that your prescription medications will be covered in 2024. Drug coverage can change from year to year, even if you stick with the same plan. It’s important to verify that your medications are still included in the formulary.
3. What are the out-of-pocket costs? Consider the monthly premiums, deductible, copays, and coinsurance of each plan. Estimate how much healthcare you’ll need next year to compare costs. Determine the costs you would pay if you only require preventive care versus the maximum amount you could pay as a heavy healthcare user. This comparison will help you choose the best plan based on your anticipated healthcare needs.
4. Is a high-deductible plan right for you? High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) typically have lower premiums and may include contributions to a health savings account (HSA). Evaluate if you can afford to pay the deductible if you require healthcare. HDHPs can be suitable for individuals in different health situations, but it’s crucial to ensure you have the means to cover the full deductible in case of a major accident or health issue.
5. Can you stack benefits? Check if your employer offers voluntary benefits that can complement your health coverage. These additional benefits can provide extra financial protection or support for specific healthcare needs.
By asking these important questions and considering your personal circumstances, you can make an informed decision during open enrollment and choose the best health plan for your financial health in 2024.