Whether young, middle-aged, older, single or with a family, choosing the right insurance plan during open enrollment is vital. Not only will this be your health plan for the next year, but it also can significantly impact maintaining positive mental health.
The Importance of the Right Plan
When open enrollment comes along, we know it can be tempting to quickly register. With a short window of time, it may not make your list of top priorities. However, choosing the right plan could make a difference in your and your family’s lives.
Physically, this is a no-brainer. The decision you make affects if you can afford routine check-ups, medications, surgeries, or unforeseen medical necessities. Physical health isn’t the only thing that should be on your mind when selecting your health plan.
Mental health arguably is even more essential when choosing a plan. When a person’s mental health is in good standing, their physical health is likely to follow, perhaps because they have the peace of mind to treat their body well. When choosing a plan, check if mental health care is included. Additionally, knowing you have the best coverage for you and your family can provide peace of mind for next year.
How to Choose Your Health Coverage
When selecting your health coverage, first, take your time. Carve out a time in your day when you can sit down and truly pick out the best care without distractions. Setting a reminder for when open enrollment ends is also a good idea.
Once you’re sitting down and selecting, make sure you keep the following questions in mind throughout the process:
- Does your employer offer health insurance or insurance specifically for mental health? If not, have you researched your state’s online marketplace for insurance choices?
- Do you know the different types of plans and what they mean? These include Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO), and Point of Service Plan (POS).
- Is there a summary of the benefits of each plan? Do any or all of them cover mental health services? If not, research the best you can, or reach out to your human resources department.
- Do you have a good understanding of your or your family’s medical needs? Have you considered mental health needs as well? For example, a young single adult may opt for a different plan than a family of four with more medical needs.
- Does the plan you want require a referral from a physician?
- Does your employer offer a health savings account (HAS)? If so, how much are you willing and able to contribute?
- Do you know the network that your health plan would include? This can be important when searching for providers, especially mental health professionals.
- Have you compared out-of-pocket costs? This is primarily what most individuals are concerned with.
- Do you know what common health insurance terms are? If not, educate yourself on words such as copy, deductible, coinsurance, and more, before choosing a plan.
While these questions may seem overwhelming, don’t be alarmed. Take your time, and if you are new to choosing a plan, use this as a learning experience. Open enrollment typically lasts a week or two also, so if you decide you want to change your plan before the end date, that’s a possibility.
The Importance of Mental Health
Although mental health is just as important as physical health, it’s often placed on the backburner. That’s why at Alter Health Group – Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment, we’re dedicated to providing people struggling with mental health disorders in California with resources to live their best, happiest lives. One front of this effort is our dedication to providing high-quality mental health care, which is available at Alter Behavioral Health.
Whatever insurance plan you choose this year, we encourage you to take it seriously and know that the health of you and your family is important to us.