Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Health Benefits-Is it time for your makeover?

Every year at this time of year, we get something in the mail or something through work saying we need to look at our benefits package and make changes if you would like to. What exactly does that mean?
For most of us, it means trying to get health care while we can. Trying to fit those benefits in our budget. Reading as to what is the best health care plan for us.
Being a military wife, we never had to worry about health insurance. It was a given. In our house, it's an advantage to be able to go to the doctor when we need to. When I was single, I knew what it was like to make a decision as to how badly I needed to go to the doctor. How exactly do you make the decision for your healthcare?
Some people exercise daily, some eat healthy, some avoid smoking and drinking. I try to do all of those. A big part of staying healthy is also getting the right health plan for you and your family. It doesn't take forever and it doesn't take a lot of research. Sometimes, with the right tips, you can make an informed decision in an hour or less. Here are five tips on how to make that decision easier.
1. You want to calculate about how much you are going to need to spend. Make sure you can afford the premiums. For some plans, there's a lower monthly cost, but a higher cost when you go to the doctor etc. You may want to look at your previous years health costs to make adjustments.
2. Predict what routine exams you're going to need. You need to get the preventive care that is recommended to prevent bigger costs in the future. Also along with the prediction, think about whether or not you have some finances in savings for those emergencies. If not, and you live an active lifestyle, you may want to opt for the plan that has more benefits. Also, look for discounts for not smoking or drinking, for gym memberships, and for being a healthy weight.

3. Compare the health plan options that you can get. If you don't have any options, then use the benefits that you are paying for. If your plan comes with a free eye exam every year, what is it going to hurt to get one? You're paying for it anyway!
4. Enroll when it's open enrollment, don't procrastinate. If you wait until the last day possible to register, something may come up that prevents you from registering. Then you would have to wait a whole year to get your benefits. Do it right away!
5. Look for cheaper alternatives to some health benefits. The local planned parenthood offers birth control based on income. The local health district offers shots and goes on a sliding scale. There are usually free health screenings everywhere. Also, use a mail order pharmacy if your insurance covers it, they are usually much cheaper than going to the pharmacy, and you don't have to wait in line.
With this family, we don't have to worry about health care, like most. We're automatically covered. Our premium is taken out of the retirement check before we even think about it. I really don't even know how much we pay for our health insurance (bad I know). Most people aren't this lucky though. So, pay attention to that "useless" paperwork that comes to your house. there could be big time money saving information there!!!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Aetna blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 Target gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here