Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Be Smart About Your Health--The Power of an Hour

Aetna and Twittermoms has teamed up to help people be more informed to make better decisions about their health care options.  Atena’s Be Smart About Your Health gives people the tools and “know-how” to save time and money while making the best health decisions during Open Enrollment and throughout the year.  After reading this site, I came up with five tips to share with my readers on cutting through the confusion and make smart decisions in less than an hour.

1.      If you have trouble sorting through all the jargon or understanding the lingo, talk to your HR person and take notes.  Make sure you read back what you wrote so you have a clear understanding of coverage and costs.
2.      Figure out what is important to you.  Do you want to see an out-of-network doctor?  Do you or family member have a lot of prescriptions?   By evaluating your priorities, you can make better decisions about what plan you need.
3.      If you have a choice of health plans, it can be very difficult to figure out which one to choose.  My husband and I figured up the costs of the premiums and the estimated costs of co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses for best and worst case scenarios the year we had a choice of plans.  We determined the high-deductible plan would be the cheapest for us.  Even though we were responsible for the first $1500 of expenses per person, the savings we incurred in our premiums plus the companies deposit in our HSA was greater than if we had the basic plan with co-pays.  However you do it, make sure you budget what your needs will be and save that money in your HSA.
4.      If two spouses both work and have health plans, you will want to consider which one offers the best coverage for your needs.  If you don’t have children, it may be less expensive for you to each carry your own insurance instead of paying family premiums.
5.      Make sure you know about additional benefits your plan/employer has to offer.  Many companies offer extra benefits such as free preventative screenings, wellness incentives that may reduce your premium, and mail order prescription drug services where you can get 3 month prescription refills at a significantly reduce rate. 

Need more help? Visit Be Smart About Your Health where you can find all sorts of information such as a glossary of health terms and free tools, such as a payment calculator.  Also, make sure you request or download this free book, Health Benefits for Dummies.

Hopefully, with these tips and a little time spent looking over the sites above, this year’s open enrollment won’t be so intimidating and you will be able to make more informed decisions for you and your family in the upcoming year, while saving as much money as possible.  Best of luck to you, and remember, if you aren’t sure, ask questions till you are clear!

Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Aetna blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 Target gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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