Is It time for a change? Evaluating health insurance plans during Open Enrollment
Posted: November 17, 2021 | Word Count: 873
A lot can happen in a year, especially if it includes major life changes such as retirement or a new career. In particular, your health status and finances can shift a lot over the course of 12 months. Fortunately, the Open Enrollment period is a good time to review your healthcare coverage and learn about options that meet your current health needs.
The 2022 Open Enrollment Period began November 1, 2021 and, this year, individuals have until January 15 — an extra 30 days from previous years — to review coverage options and make any adjustments. Some states have longer Open Enrollment periods, and employer-sponsored insurance may have a different timetable, so you may want to confirm timing based on your current coverage.
Knowing where to start to research information on healthcare insurance options and how to make a change might feel overwhelming, but fortunately, there are several resources available to AARP members to help navigate the complex decision-making process.
If you’re content with your current coverage, and your health and financial status have not changed significantly, you may not need to take any action during the Open Enrollment period. However, if your financial situation has changed, you don’t have the coverage or flexibility you need for your current life stage, or if you anticipate additional medical care in the year ahead, it’s a good idea to review the available options.
Not sure if you need to make a change? Here are a few questions to help you determine whether you should take action.
Has your financial situation changed?
If you are now living on a fixed income, you may want to research coverage options with copays, coinsurance and deductibles that fit within your budget. Conversely, if there has been a shift in your expenses and you can now afford more coverage, it might also be a good idea to explore your options to better protect yourself or your loved ones.
If an insurance change impacts your medication coverage, now is a great time to explore prescription discount programs. While you don’t have to wait until the Open Enrollment Period, it’s helpful to know it is an available option to supplement your selected insurance. AARP members have access to a free prescription discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by OptumRx® that can be used to save on FDA-approved medications. While anyone can take advantage of this benefit, AARP members can unlock deeper discounts and benefits such as home delivery, coverage for dependents and more.
Has your health status changed?
Perhaps you suffered an injury or illness that will require additional medical care. Or perhaps a chronic ailment has been corrected that may no longer warrant such frequent medical attention. In either case, you may want to find ways to adjust your plan accordingly.
If you’re currently in good health, maintaining a focus on your health may help you avoid chronic health issues down the road. For example, as with many health conditions, hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse. Frustrations associated with hearing loss can lead to depression as individuals withdraw from others, and in turn, accelerate the decline of cognitive abilities. Seeing a physician for a hearing test and assistance with hearing aids, medication or even surgery may have a significant impact on your general well-being. To prepare for associated costs, you can explore hearing care options such as the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA that provides savings on check-ups, hearing aids, batteries, fittings and more.
Are there coverage options you don’t currently have but would like?
If you’re happy with your healthcare coverage but have decided you would benefit from learning more about vision or dental insurance options, take advantage of resources to understand those that work best for you and your loved ones.
Some dental options include coverage for regular visits and any special procedures or treatments that may arise. For instance, AARP® Dental Insurance Plan administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company offers individual or family coverage for the most common dental procedures.
Regular eye exams can help you monitor and even potentially prevent more serious, and costly, health issues. As most eye conditions can be treated if found early, you may want to look for vision coverage information that includes vision care for regular eye exams. Additionally, the AARP® Vision Discounts provided by EyeMed also provide savings on eyeglasses, sunglasses and more.
Are you content with your current situation?
Expenses and coverage are very important when planning your healthcare options, but if you are dissatisfied with the customer service your current plan provides, find it difficult to access important information, or are unhappy with the providers available to you, it may be a good idea to explore other options. Your satisfaction is important to make the most out of your coverage.
To learn more about healthcare options, visit https://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/healthcare/.
Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. Some provider offers are subject to change and may have restrictions. Please contact the provider directly for details. AARP and its affiliates are not insurers, agents, brokers or producers.