How to choose the right health care plan

Are you getting the most for your money when it comes to your health care?  For most U.S. companies, ‘open enrollment’ season is starting, but a new report shows more than 50 percent of employees don’t know which insurance plan is right for them.  This can cost up to $750 a year in wasted benefits.

Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac, offered tips for how to get more from your health benefits and reduce money wasted.

“Open enrollment is the time of year when employers present to employees their health benefits and offerings – products, packages, etc.,” Tillman said.  “You make selections for (the) upcoming year that are the most part binding, so it should be taken very seriously.”

Tillman said the most common mistakes people make during this time are not understanding what all the options are and not taking the time to figure out what you need or might need in the upcoming year.

“You have to look at the facts, not make assumptions,” Tillman said.

She added that another thing people need to consider more closely is whether or not to make a change in their coverage.  According to an Aflac report, 98 percent of people stay with the same benefits every year.

“People have changes in life – new family members or medical conditions – things that have to be taken into account,” Tillman said.  “If you go with the same decisions as last year but have a new life circumstance, you may be setting yourself up for a situation where you don’t have coverage.”

A major complaint among employees is that their employers don’t communicate about open enrollment – at all.  Tillman recommended employers do more to educate their employees on their options.

Tillman said effective ways of communication include posting information online, holding classes or bringing in health care vendors to discuss different packages.

“I feel like it’s an investment in the employees to prove health care,” Tillman said.  “To have them not understand is a waste of the investment.”

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