This is a VERY IMPORTANT POST- feel free to share with friends and family too. Open enrollment each year means you have to decide which plan to choose for next year. Big thing is DO NOT ASSUME YOU HAVE THE SAME COVERED BENEFITS AS LAST YEAR OR IF YOU CHANGE PLANS. Acupuncture is a big one that you have to make sure is on the list as a covered benefit. While acupuncture is considered an essential health benefit in MD, some cheaper plans omit it. Acupuncture, chiropractic, bariatric surgery, autism therapy and infertility treatments are not guaranteed to be covered. When you are going for the cheaper plan, do the math! It may be cheaper per month but you may end up putting out much more money in copays and out of pocket expenses over the year. You may save $50 a month in premiums but if you lose acupuncture coverage, that is $75-80 per visit out of pocket that you will end up paying instead.
I (Colleen) am in the process of writing an article about health insurance, what to look out for and the financials. My suggestion is to pull up your online record for this year and see how much you have put out in medical expenses including your premiums. Compare this to the plans you are offered. If the copays are different, add those differences for each visit you had this year. Don’t forget to get your pharmacy info too! The math is a pain to do but very worth it in the long run!