How to Ensure that Open Enrollment Works for You

Thank you Dignity Health for sponsoring this post. Enroll in humankindness.

If you’re anything like me, you tend to shy away from thinking about or dealing with insurance and healthcare. It can be confusing and overwhelming! As the main caretaker of my children, it is a necessity that I know what my children’s health provider options are and which plan I should be going with. Terms like open enrollment, premium, and deductible can make your head spin! With a little bit of insight, though, you can see that Open Enrollment is a great time to make your family’s quality of life better.

Over 22% of people said that they spent less than an hour on selecting their healthcare plan and providers! 65% of millennials said that they wish they would have spent more time making their selections. Don’t be in that boat – get informed and make educated decisions.

For the most part, I think that I was pretty prepared to be a mother. I’m the oldest child in my family and the oldest of all of my cousins. I have always loved babies and grew up babysitting to make extra money. I had my CPR certification, First Aid binder, crayons and activities for the kids, and treats for when they were good. I read all of the Dr. Sears and What to Expect books. In my almost 8 years of being a mother, not much has been a surprise when it comes to parenting.

The one thing I didn’t plan for? How much time would be spent at doctor’s offices! I can’t tell you new mothers how many appointments you will have throughout your pregnancy and how many babies have. They have check-ups and vaccinations every few weeks. And that’s when they’re healthy! Plan for their first illnesses, unexpected febrile seizures (so scary), and first tumbles resulting in broken bones to be on your way to the doctor’s office. We’ve been fortunate in that Lola, at 6 years old, was our first broken bone in the family. The joys of being a mother: one child getting a cast and the other throwing a tantrum on the floor! There’s another thing to look for – a doctor’s office with a clean floor :)

All of this to say, it is crucial that you choose a doctor that you love! You will be spending so much time talking with their office on the phone, waiting in the waiting room, and taking your children in for check-ups. Most Californians don’t prioritize their doctors when choosing their insurance plan. Meaning that they choose a plan, and then look for a doctor in that network. I would recommend finding a doctor that you like, and then seeing which insurance plan they work with.

For me, the best way to find a good doctor is to ask other parents who they use. During open enrollment is your time to find the insurance plan and doctors that work best for your entire family. For us personally, we like the Health Savings Plan route. We have a separate debit card that is loaded with our pre-tax dollars to use strictly for medical expenses. I pay our family’s copays at doctor appointments, prescriptions, and chiropractic adjustments with that card. It helps us keep track of medical expenses and I like having it separate from everything else.

I would ask trusted friends for recommendations if you are looking for new medical providers. Then you have a better chance of finding one you like. Sometimes people like different things, and you may end up switching after a few visits. For this reason, I like going to a practice where there are multiple doctors. That way, you can schedule your appointments with the one you get along with best. For us, trial and error has given us the experience to know that we like the Health Savings Plan for our insurance plan. Find what works for you, then make your selections during Open Enrollment to ensure a happy, healthy year for your whole family.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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