Preparing for Open Enrollment 2020: Advice for Healthcare Consumers

For many plans renewing at or around the start of the year, the countdown to open enrollment is on! Open enrollment is your one opportunity to elect your health and benefits choices for the upcoming year, outside of experiencing a “life event.” Remember that once your employer or plan sponsor sets the open enrollment time frame, the deadline for changes is set in stone. As a healthcare consumer, you don’t want to miss the deadline and go a full year with a plan you’re unhappy with, or worse yet, without health insurance. Therefore, we recommend that you familiarize yourself now with all of the materials that you need to informed decisions about your benefits. Here’s some advice on preparing for open enrollment 2020.

Step 1 – Prepare by looking at your current benefits and consider anything that has changed in the last year. Ask yourself:

  • Are you supporting more dependents?
  • Have you developed any chronic health conditions?
  • Are you saving enough for retirement?

The answers to these questions will help you to determine if you need more (or less) coverage for the next year.

Step 2 – Read over the benefits descriptions for this year’s offerings. Some benefits may have changed, so coverage may not be the same as the previous year.

Step 3 – Familiarize yourself with insurance jargon. It can be confusing and can make open enrollment overall more complicated. A few common terms are below:

  • Coinsurance – The amount or percentage that you pay for certain covered health care services under your health plan. This is typically the amount paid after a deductible is met, and can vary based on the plan design.
  • Copayment (or copay) – A flat fee that you pay toward the cost of covered medical services (for example, a doctor’s office visit).
  • Deductible – A specific dollar amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance starts to pay. Under some plans, the deductible is waived for certain services.
  • In network – Health care received from your primary care physician or from a specialist within an outlined list of health care practitioners.
  • Premium – The amount you pay for a health plan in exchange for coverage. Health plans with higher deductibles typically have lower premiums.

For more key health insurance terms, you can check out a previous post where we put together an Open Enrollment Glossary that can also be downloaded or printed to help you as you select your healthcare benefits for 2020.

Check back with us soon as we post on more topics related to preparing for open enrollment 2020. If you are interested in learning more about employee benefits, please contact our Employee Benefits Management Group (EBMG) here or by calling (800) 242-4433.

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