Navigating Open Enrollment This Season

With Halloween just around the corner, you’ve probably experienced a few scares.  Unfortunately, that may not be the end of it.  If you’ve been avoiding open enrollment, then this season may be equally terrifying!  With confusing health care jargon and an abundance of information, open enrollment brings fear upon many.

But fear no more.

To help you navigate this painful process we’ve listed our favorite tips and tricks, and outlined the ways in which Cake Health can help you find the best plan during open enrollment.

1.) Watch out for plan changes

If there was ever a time to look at changes in your plan, it would be now.  As a result of recent significant economic difficulties, many health plans have been altered, so don’t assume that your plan’s premiums and deductibles stayed the same.

2.) Compare PPO and HMO plans

If you’re unfamiliar with this terminology, the first step is visiting Wikipedia.  Next, think about which plan is better suited for you.  HMOs are usually less expensive, but you will be restricted to in-network doctors.   With a PPO plan, you can visit doctors of your choice.  That being said, if you have an array of specialists that you see, or doctors that you’ve established relationships with but are out of network, you may want to consider a PPO plan.

3.) Review your medical history

During enrollment season, thoroughly review your medical history.  You can do this easily using the Cake Health “History” dashboard, which tracks all of your medical expenses and health related costs – from visits to the doctor to various prescriptions. From there, you can better assess the type of plan you will need based on your past expenses.  Don’t have a Cake Health account?  It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up.

4.) Keep track of deadlines

This may seem obvious, yet year after year employees wait until their enrollment deadline to choose their health insurance plan.  You wouldn’t wait until the day of to pay your rent or your taxes, would you?  (Or, would you…).  Point is, your health is important, make it a priority.  If you need help remembering your deadline, just add a reminder in Cake Health and we’ll let you know when it’s time to decide.

5.) Check for wellness programs and health assessments

According to the 2011 Kaiser Employee Benefits survey, 65% of firms offering health benefits offer at least one of the following wellness programs:  weight loss programs, gym membership discounts or on-site excersive facilities, smoking cessation programs, personal health coaching, etc.  Find out if your employee offers any programs that could lead you to a healthier lifestyle, and watch your health insurance expenses decline.

In addition, Kaiser reports that ” Some firms give their employees the option of completing a health risk assessment to identify potential health risks.  Health risk assessments generally include questions about medical history, health status, and lifestyle.”

Happy Enrollment, and Happy Halloween everyone!

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