Open enrollment for individuals and families who buy their own health insurance begins on Sunday, November 1. That is the day that we will all be told which carriers will be providing plans in our area, what the plan designs will look like and what the premiums will be. Many people take this task on by themselves and we suggest that you give your agent a chance to translate the information provided.
Each year we receive phone calls from individuals who did not avail themselves of the help of a broker and discovered that they had enrolled in a plan that did not work the way they thought it would. The biggest surprise has been that the network that applies to the plan does not include the providers the insured expected. Be sure that someone does a network search to avoid the pain when bills arrive that were above the in-network allowance or the provider was not covered at all. If we work with brokers who are trained to identify the finer details of the plans available these heartaches can largely be avoided.
In the Georgia market there is normally one insurance carrier whose rates are the lowest of all plans available. Be sure to do a careful provider search on this carrier as we discovered that several of the providers who participated last year were not paid for claims by the plan. It will be interesting to see how many of these providers will sign on for a second year after that experience.
This year some of the insurance companies are removing brokers from client accounts if individuals call directly in to their offices rather than reaching out to their agents first. Beware. Accidentally misdirected questions will remove the broker-client relationship and leave insureds to fight complicated claims problems on their own.
If you work with a broker stay in touch and ask for advice during open enrollment. If you have not worked with an agent who provides this type of help in the past please seek one out. Health insurance continues to become increasingly complex and battling the system individually does not provide the strength that working together does. Also, the cost of this service is built into our premiums. We are paying for help whether we get it or not.
For help during the Open Enrollment period, call us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. –We have decades of experience and are here to help YOU!