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Open enrollment: A cheaper plan isn’t always the best choice

Assess your needs and research options before making

Assess your needs and research options before making a final decision on health insurance during open enrollment. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Rawpixel Ltd.

It’s that time of year when you review your employer-sponsored benefits. One of the most significant decisions you’ll make during open enrollment is about your health insurance.

  • Be aware of your enrollment deadline: “If you miss your opportunity, you might end up spending more money for less coverage with the wrong plan. And you’ll have to wait a full year before you can make changes,” says Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax & Consulting in Rockville Centre.
  • Take a look at your current plan: “People will commonly sign up for a cheaper plan but not realize the network has changed or that the deductible is actually higher. Avoid mistakes by taking a look at your network, premiums, deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum,” says Alex Tolbert, CEO and founder of Bernard Health in Nashville.
  • Check for wellness incentives: “Sometimes something you’re already doing (like going to the gym) can qualify you for savings or prizes,” says Zimmelman.
  • Consider an account: If your employer gives you the option of a flexible spending account or a health reimbursement account, consider it. It can help you save money on deductibles and other medical expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance.
  • Know your options: Do your research. Says Ronald Barba, director of content and community at, “Consider whether enrolling in your employer’s health care plan makes the best sense for you. Especially for those new to the job market, it’s important to know that you don’t have to get the health insurance offered from your employer. You can find coverage on your own.”

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