As the year ends, you might be reminiscing over a year of memories. But you should also evaluate practical decisions that you made throughout the year, as well as your budget. Since we’re currently in the middle of the health insurance Open Enrollment season, you should take a moment to ask yourself these five questions about your health care during 2015.
Was my out-of-pocket spending about what I expected? You chose your health insurance policy based partly on your expected out-of-pocket spending. Did you spend more or less than you expected? If you spent much more, you might want to research different policies that could better suit your needs. If you didn’t need much medical care, you might find that a less expensive policy works well for you. The bottom line is that you should evaluate your coverage to see if you could save money by switching to another plan.
Do I expect any major surgeries or treatments in the coming year? Has your doctor mentioned a change in your treatment plan or the possible need for surgery? If so, you can expect your out-of-pocket spending to change, possibly drastically. You might want to choose a policy with a lower deductible.
Am I happy with my health care provider? If your health insurance policy is network-based, you might be limited to certain health care providers. Have you felt satisfied with your choices? Do you need specialist care which is not covered under your current policy? Have you moved, or is a move on the horizon? You might want to check on availability of care providers in your new area.
Are you planning an addition to your family? A new baby often means thousand birth care. But it also means a new member of your family who could have significant medical needs of their own beyond the birth. Adding to your family might mean that you should reevaluate your coverage.
Has your family size or income changed in the past year? If so, you should update your personal information with Covered California. You might be eligible for a larger subsidy to help with your premiums, or you might be receiving too much (which can trigger a repayment requirement next year). Even if you plan to keep your current health insurance plan, you should still update your income and family size information each year.
Remember, Open Enrollment lasts until January 31. You still have time to evaluate your plan and get the process started today!