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OEP shortened to 45 days. Consumers should start early planning out their benefit choices.

August 27, 2017

 

 

You might have heard that consumers spend more time planning a vacation than figuring out their benefit choices during open enrollment. Well, duh. We’d all rather be wading into an infinity pool on a cruise instead of stuck in the suburbs, wading through open enrollment options.

 

But paying attention to your benefits choices can help you save money, 

"It's important to spend time shopping for new benefits options” during open enrollment. 2018 Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. Outside the Open Enrollment Period, you generally can enroll in a health insurance plan only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. "With high deductible health plans on the rise, supplemental insurance can add value to your benefits portfolio and help you save money on your annual medical expenses."

 

So how are you supposed to know what kinds of insurance to consider and what benefit levels to select? These 10 questions are a good place to start.

 

What's my share of medical costs?

Deductibles, copays and coinsurance amounts are on the rise, so be sure to find out what they are before looking at policies designed to help with these and other expenses.

An important part of financial planning is understanding what you would have to pay for a costly medical event such as an accident or critical illness.

 

What are my out-of-pocket non-medical expenses?

Many expenses such as transportation, child care, and lost income due to missing work are not covered by your major medical insurance. These non-medical costs can add up quickly.  

 

Do I want to use my savings for these expenses?

Even if there's enough money in the bank to handle them, wouldn't you rather use your savings for your next vacation? Supplemental insurance is an option some consider.  

For example, according to research, purchasing a critical illness policy would pay a lump sum cash benefit after a heart attack, and that money could be used for travel to see a specialist or to cover child care while you focus on recovery.

 

How would I make up for lost income if I became disabled?

Enroll in some sort of coverage for long-term disability. Consider what could happen if you can't work for three to six months due to a back injury. Short-term disability insurance provides a percentage of your pay for a specified period of time.

 

How might my health history affect my health benefits needs?

Past problems could indicate a predisposition to other problems and recurrences of similar issues. Is there a chance you might need hospitalization? Hospital indemnity insurance pays benefits for hospital stays.

 

How might my family medical history affect my health benefits needs?

Has anyone in your family had cancer, heart disease, or high blood pressure? Consider how cancer insurance or critical illness insurance can help if you've inherited certain family illnesses.

 

How might my family's leisure activities affect my benefits needs?

Playing sports, hiking, or spending time at the lake? Some activities carry more risk for injury. Accident insurance pays benefits you can use for medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses.

 

Will I be able to schedule routine eye exams and dental cleanings?

Your eyes may be a window to your soul but they can also help detect potential health issues. Plus, protecting your oral health represents a crucial disease-prevention strategy.

Vision and dental insurance can be helpful. Consider what you'd spend without one or both of these types of policies and balance that amount against the cost of coverage.

 

How does my age affect my health risk factors? 

Getting older can make insurance even more important. At younger ages, the risk is lower so some types of insurance are more affordable. Ask us about HealthNet CO Care360 assessment. 

 

Will my loved ones need my income in the event of my death?

Do I have life insurance? Do I have enough life insurance? Individual life insurance is competitively priced and offers certain levels of coverage on a guaranteed issue basis.

Asking these questions and checking with a broker about these benefits can help create a clearer picture of your life and supplemental health insurance needs, so you can select the right policies to help protect yourself and your family from life's curve balls.

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