Healthcare plans and coverage options change every year. When the pandemic first hit, many plans expanded coverage to reflect the unique circumstances we were all dealing with. But, as the pandemic continues to linger, what changes should you expect in your coverage?
Whether you get your insurance through your employer, are on Medicare, or have a policy you obtained independently through the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to keep current with potential changes. This is particularly important as Open Enrollment for 2022 is right around the corner. In fact, Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 7th, and Covered California Open Enrollment begins November 1st. Check with your employer to see when your Open Enrollment period begins and ends.
Recently, Covered California announced plans to improve healthcare coverage throughout 2022. This plan includes lowering premiums, offering benefits and expanding coverage with carriers across the entire state. And while COVID-19 vaccines are free to everybody — regardless of your coverage or lack of coverage — some plans may be changing other benefits and requirements, such as telehealth coverage.
Take time now to review your policy and make sure you understand the benefits you are entitled to. Then, as you prepare for Open Enrollment decisions, make sure those policies will continue to work for you and your family’s healthcare needs going into 2022 and beyond.
- Determine what’s most important. Do you value virtual appointments? Or want insurance that can work out or in network?
- Compare plans. Your employer might offer different plans, or you might be considering using an alternative private insurance. Whatever the case, if you want something different than you currently have, compare healthcare plan options. This could include research on specific primary care providers within that plan and evaluating if you need referrals to specialists. It may also be beneficial to look at quality scores and metrics of local health centers where you are likely to receive care. It may also be beneficial to look at quality scores and metrics of local health centers where you are likely to receive care.
- Consider out-of-pocket expenses. Every plan is different, and so is the out-of-pocket cost. While we all might want lower rates, there is a give and take in terms of benefits and coverage. Look for a plan that covers your specific healthcare requirements, while also remaining affordable.
- Compare benefits. Similar to out-of-pocket costs, each plan comes with different benefits that might make those costs worth it.
The pandemic has changed healthcare policies. There are new updates and adjustments to extend coverage in light of job loss, and more changes might be coming. While the unknown can be nerve-wracking, you don’t have to go about it by yourself. Watch for more information on the upcoming Open Enrollment period.
This article first appeared in the September 2021 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.