Reevaluate Your Insurance Plan During Open Enrollment

Paul Miller |

The open enrollment period for health insurance in the United States is approaching in the fall, and there is no better time throughout the year to reevaluate the status of your health insurance coverage. Your insurance plan not only has a high impact on your monthly budget, but on your health as well. Too little coverage, and you may feel it is okay to bypass professional medical attention unless something is seriously wrong. Too much coverage, and you could be wasting a lot of money. Here is what you need to know come November 1, 2016.

What is Open Enrollment?

Unless you have lost coverage or changed jobs, you have to wait for the open enrollment period each year to secure health insurance plans from a provider. defines the open enrollment period as the "yearly period when people can enroll in a health insurance plan." Open enrollment for 2017 coverage runs from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017. During this period, insurance companies are obligated to accept applicants regardless of their health history.

Benefits to Reevaluating

If you have simply been rolling from one insurance plan to the same plan year after year, it may be time to consider reevaluating your coverage for 2017. During the open enrollment period you are free to shop from your pick of healthcare providers, and are under no obligation to remain with the same provider and/or plan when the next year starts.

Reevaluation is important because you may be able to find a better deductible on your plan, which can save you money, find a lower premium, obtain better overall coverage, or generally improve upon all of these factors with your health insurance plan. This is particularly helpful if you have generally good health and do not go to the doctor on a regular basis aside from your routine checkups.

Huffington Post offers a roundup of the reasons you should consider reevaluating during open enrollment, and they include:

• Changes in your plan/other plans

• Time to review your spouse's coverage

• Available FSA plans

• Changes in your family status

Shopping Around Benefits You Directly

If nothing else, the open enrollment period is an ideal time to simply shop around and discover what other plans are out there. You may find that your provider has a lower premium plan with a higher deductible that would work better for you, assuming you are in good health and only use routine visits on your plan.

There are multiple health insurance plans available with varying degrees of deductible coverage, monthly premiums, and included services (such as urgent care visits) that expand beyond simple preventative medicine. The best plan is the one you can afford that also provides you with ample coverage for your specific healthcare needs.

Remember to take your time and compare the available plans you find during the open enrollment period. There is no other time of the year when you can openly shop for different plans, so use this opportunity to your advantage to improve your coverage, lower your costs, or better yet, both!

You only have a limited time to decide on your healthcare plan for the upcoming year. Remember if you do not have health insurance you will receive a tax penalty. For more information, contact Indian River Financial Group.