Open Enrollment: Things To Consider When Considering Health Care

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 11:05 AM

By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Indiana News Service

The Medicare Annual Enrollment period is now open.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Fall is an important time for the millions of Hoosiers with health insurance. Not only does the Medicare Annual Enrollment period start Tuesday, but many employers are setting aside a two-week period for workers to choose their health-care coverage for 2020.

Vice President of United Healthcare in Indiana John Lurker emphasized the importance of reviewing plan options, and taking into account any changes in your own health.

"Each year, things change in individuals' personal circumstances and also their plans," Lurker said. "They really need to take time to understand those plans, understand their options and make those selections over the next couple months here."

Lurker said any expected future health events such as having a baby or surgery should be considered as it could impact the total cost of a plan, and not just the monthly premium. He also recommended reviewing prescription drug needs, including coverage, cost, and the price for generics compared with brand names.

Lurker said one way to save on health-care costs is to look for a plan with a well-being program.

"A lot of the different plans reward taking healthier actions such as completing a health survey, walking, going to the gym, not using nicotine. Also, many Medicare advantage plans offer gym memberships and wellness programs for members at no additional cost," he said.

Another option becoming more widespread among insurance plans is virtual visits, which Lurker said allow patients to connect with a health-care provider 24/7 from the comfort of home.

"It may be a convenient and lower-cost way to talk to a doctor about minor health issues, and all you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer," he said. "Often, tele-health is available to members of employer-sponsored plans, individuals, and they're expanding it a lot of times into Medicare."

More information about open-enrollment and health-insurance terms is available online at Medicare's annual enrollment runs through December 7, which is around the same time most employer-based enrollment periods also end.

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