As moms, we wear many hats in our households: From head nurse to top chef to pep talk giver to personal shopper. We are basically superwoman. One of the more daunting roles we assume is making health insurance choices for our family.
If you’re anything like me and are faced with buying plans on the individual market, the inner panic attack monolog ensues when I hear that the December 15th deadline is coming up for open enrollment:
Am I getting the coverage my family needs? Will my OBGYN take my new insurance? Why doesn’t insurance cover my child’s pediatrician? Am I getting sold something I don’t really need or am I missing something I desperately do? Why are our health insurance costs skyrocketing? Am I a good mom?!
Take a deep breath. You’ve got this, mom.
At Take Command Health, our job is to empower you to make smart health insurance decisions and make your busy life a little easier. A smart decision not only gives you peace of mind but also saves you money. Research shows more than 85% of people shopping on their own choose the wrong health plan each year, costing more than $500 in unnecessary health expenses.
Here are four ground rules you need to know when buying health insurance:
- Shop Around Every Year
It’s tempting to want to stick with one plan out of convenience, especially when we’re juggling the many duties that make us moms. This isn’t something that can be on auto-pilot. Plans, doctor networks, prescription coverage and your family’s health needs change every year. Insurance companies frequently shift things around to maximize their earnings—not necessarily your health.
Confused by all the crazy terms and acronyms? Click on our Health Insurance 101 Guide below to brush up on the terminology.
- Consider ALL of your health insurance options
There are several ways to purchase health insurance. When you shop at Healthcare.gov, you’re only seeing “on-exchange” plans. However, insurance companies only make a fraction of their plans available “on exchange.” There are also private exchanges, co-ops, and even faith-based “medical sharing” plans. At Take Command Health, we can help you quickly see ALL of your options.
- Separate plans can save you big
It seems like everything is bundled these days—from cell phone plans to bulk purchases at Costco, the most cost effective way to spend is buying in multiples. Right? When it comes to health insurance, sometimes you can actually save money by purchasing individual policies for your family. This is particularly true for families in which one family member has a chronic disease. If one family member utilizes health insurance more frequently, purchasing routine medications and using specialist doctors, it can be beneficial to have a separate plan for that family member. Want to learn more? Check out our recent blog on a tight family who bought separate plans.
- Know which doctors you really need
Obviously, a big priority for any mom is to keep her OBGYN and pediatricians when choosing a new health plan.
Also, there are a lot of new EPO networks this year. With an EPO, you don’t need a primary care doctor and you can see any specialist you’d like that’s in-network. The only difference between an EPO and a PPO is that an EPO doesn’t cover out of network benefits. But as long as you’re smart about choosing a plan that has your doctors in network, you can save money!
If your doctors happen to be in an HMO or if you don’t have preferred doctors yet, the HMO can be a great, money saving choice. These aren’t the HMOs of the past with long wait times and long lines. You can get referrals online (check with your provider) and seeing some specialists (like an OBGYN) no longer requires a referral.
Still confused? Check out our help article on the differences between PPOs, HMOs, and EPOs.
Take Command Health is here to help.
Take Command Health believes in transparency and empowerment in this confusing realm of health insurance. We use data to provide unbiased plan recommendations that will make the most out of your health insurance dollars.
Get started finding your health plan by clicking here: Take Command Health – Find your health plan
Need help? Email us at [email protected] or click the button below to give our online health insurance shopping tool a try.
Also: check out this real mom’s story of her experience with Take Command Health: Mom Testimonial – Take Command Health.