Before finalizing your open registration options, check out these tips – GOBankingRates | Team Cansler

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The final months of the year aren’t just for turkey and mistletoe — they’re also when Americans participate in open enrollment for health insurance. Regardless of what type of plan you’ve signed up for, it’s important to review your choices carefully to ensure you’re making the right ones.

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Open enrollment is available for company-sponsored health plans, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Open enrollment dates for private insurance vary by plan and employer. For Medicare, the open enrollment period began on October 15, 2022 and will run through December 7.

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The open enrollment period for the ACA is November 1, 2022 through January 15, 2023, according to HealthCare.gov. If you do not enroll by January 15, you will not be able to obtain coverage for 2023 unless you qualify for it a special registration period. If you want your coverage to start on January 1, 2023, you must register by December 15.

According to a recent survey by Voya Financial, nearly two-thirds of American workers (63%) are likely to participate in perks offered by their employers. That’s an increase from 45% a year ago. These benefits range from critical illness insurance and hospital compensation to disability and accident insurance.

“It’s encouraging to see that workers are looking to take more time to focus on reviewing all of the workplace benefits offered by their employers to optimize every hard-earned dollar,” said Rob Grubka, CEO of Health Solutions at Voya, shared with GOBankingRates in a press release.

A thorough review of these benefits should include the following before making your final choice.

Review your current plan

UnitedHealthcare recommends counting how much you’ve spent on premiums, deductibles, and health care expenses in the past year during open enrollment before choosing a health insurance plan. Determine if the amount you or your family has spent aligns with your health care needs. Also, make sure each new plan includes your doctors/clinics in its network and covers the medications you take.

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Research the value of health savings accounts

As Forbes reported, HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans typically have lower premiums but higher deductibles than standard health plans. They also entitle you to contribute pre-tax dollars to the HSA, which can be used tax-free at any time for qualifying medical expenses. In 2023, those contributions are up to $3,850 for individual insurance or $7,750 for family insurance plus $1,000 if you are 55 years of age or older.

Make sure you consider the value of the HSA during open enrollment, and pay particular attention to whether your employer contributes to your HSA on your behalf. If so, that’s free money. And if you contribute, you also get a tax break.

Compare premiums and other costs

When reviewing different plans, be sure to compare the cost of premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance. One plan may offer lower premiums than another plan, but it may still end up costing you more when you start using healthcare services. This is especially true for health plans with high deductibles, according to Insurance.com

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When deciding on a plan, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a chronic illness that requires regular doctor visits?
  • Do you take expensive prescription drugs?
  • Do you have a family or are you planning to start one in the next year?
  • Are lower premiums or lower expenses more important to you?
  • Can you afford high expenses in an emergency?

As Insurance.com noted, benefit administrators can provide information during open enrollment that you can compare plans against.

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Make sure you calculate the correct FSA amount

Flexible spending accounts can be beneficial because the money deposited can be used for health care expenses tax-free. In 2023, you can put up to $3,050 per person in an FSA, or up to $5,000 per family, Forbes reported. Just be realistic about how much money you’re going to spend. If you don’t spend all the money in the FSA by the end of the year, anything you don’t use is lost.

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