Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Health Insurance Plan
It’s the time of year when many of us select our health insurance plans for next year. Deciding which plan is right for you and your family can sometimes feel overwhelming; you want to make sure you select the right plan to protect you and your family. Here are some questions to ask to help you evaluate your options:
What is the total cost?
The amount you pay each month for your health insurance is only one part of the total cost of a health plan. Think of it like a car. The price of the car is only part of the cost. You still have to pay for insurance, gas, tags, maintenance, etc.
Before you select a health plan for next year, 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 care. 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 a long-term illness that may require more frequent medical services? This will help you put together an estimate of much you’ll pay overall throughout the year.
Are my doctors and medications covered?
Do you already have a family doctor you really like? Are you currently being treated by a specialist? Before you pick your health plan for next year, you want to make sure the doctors you want to see are in the plan’s network as well as the hospital you prefer. 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.
You also may be able to save money based on which doctor you select. Florida Blue members get unlimited $0 visits to their primary care doctor at Sanitas Medical Centers, which are opening eight new locations in Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties. Sanitas also offers online and mobile chats with a doctor 24/7 at no additional charge for Florida Blue members.
Many 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 Centers across the state can walk you through your options, explain the total costs and help you apply for financial assistance. We have three convenient locations here in Central Florida located in Winter Park Villages, inside the Wal-Mart in Clermont and in Colonial Promenade in Winter Haven. 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.
Don’t miss the deadline!
Remember, there are deadlines quickly approaching to enroll in a health plan for next year. If you qualify for Medicare, you must select your plan by Friday, Dec. 7. And if you need an individual or family plan, the deadline to enroll is Saturday, Dec. 15. If you miss these deadlines, you and your family may not have coverage in 2019 so it’s important to act now and speak with someone about finding the right plan to help keep you and your family healthy next year.
Filed under: Education
Tony is the Market President for the Central Florida Region of Florida Blue. Prior to BCBSF, Jenkins served as Director of Diversity for CSX Corporation, the largest rail network in the eastern United States. Before joining CSX, Jenkins spent 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company in various management roles. Tony is very active in the Orlando Community. He is the past Chair for United Arts of Central Florida and the current board Chair for Florida Institute for Community Studies. He also currently serves on the Boards of The Central Florida Partnership, Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida Citrus Sports, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and he is a Board Trustee at Stetson University. In January, 2014, Tony was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, GA.