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Aflac, Health Care Reform, & Open Enrollment Information #MC

Are you ready for Open Enrollment?  I’m not one who likes to discuss insurance or do paper work but I’ve come to understand that it’s an important, or even essential, part of life.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Aflac. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Aflac

Even though I hate discussing insurance and the thought of doing paperwork gives me chills I know it’s important to have the best health insurance possible for my family…and I let me husband take care of the paperwork.

I felt confident in my knowledge of our health insurance coverage, until that is, all this talk about health care reform.  Understanding the requirements of health care reform is crucial to knowing how it will affect me and my family and how we can plan for the future.  Our family is fairly healthy but if we didn’t have insurance we would be hurting!

Aflac shared with me a few startling statistics that I want to pass on.

The 2013 Open Enrollment Survey found that:

  • – 74% of workers sometimes or never understand everything that is covered by their insurance policy today.
  • – Now, nearly 4-in-10 (37%) workers think it will be more difficult to understand everything in their health care policy with the changes dictated by health care reform.
  • – Nearly a third (28%) of employees are confused, worried or simply unsure about the change their employer is making to their health care coverage or benefits options due to health care reform. {Surely that number is higher, right?}
  • – 60 percent of workers have not begun to educate themselves about coming changes to their benefits package due to health care reform. {Now that I believe!}

Here are a few things that can help you to better understand your insurance coverage and make sure you have the best plan for you and your family.  I’m definitely going to share these tips with my husband so we can discuss our plan.

Aflac’s Top Tips:

  • – Prepare ahead of time: Be aware of annual insurance policy changes and compare your new benefits package to your policy from the year before. Do your homework to ensure you choose the right policy that fits your family’s needs and make sure that all of the health insurance costs you’re responsible for are within your budget. Also, review the deductibles and additional out-of-pocket costs for health care services and pharmacy purchases you’ll be responsible for paying to ensure your plan offers the coverage you need.
  • – Don’t make assumptions:  Ask your HR manager if your policy options changed to include new benefits made available by health care reform.
  • – Check your spouse’s benefits package: Your employer doesn’t have to offer insurance to your spouse and as costs increase, more companies are cutting this option. Even if your employer does offer your spouse insurance, the company is not obligated to pay anything toward the premium. If your spouse has access to employer-sponsored health insurance through his or her job, it may make the most financial sense to purchase two individual policies as opposed to one family policy.
  • Don’t double up: Health care reform legislation requires plans in the individual and small group markets to offer essential health benefits like pediatric vision and dental and, chronic disease management services. Check all aspects of your major medical plan so you know what is covered and what isn’t.
  • Examine premium costs carefully: Cheaper isn’t always better, since plans with the lowest monthly premiums likely mean you’ll pay more in co-insurance and receive less coverage.  That may be the perfect plan for your family if you have a savings account built up but make sure you choose the plan that is right for your family.
  • Consider supplemental insurance such as accident, hospital or critical illness plans to help reduce rising health care expenses.
  • – Take a look at Aflac’s Open Enrollment Resources.

Aflac Open Enrollment

Open enrollment season is coming soon so take the initiative and make sure you and your family have the coverage you need to maintain your lifestyle even if the unexpected happens.

Do you have any insurance tips to share?  If so, please share them in the comments!

Aflac Real Cost Calculator

*This post has been sponsored by Mom Central Consulting and Aflac but all opinions remain my own. Full disclosure is at the bottom of the post.

Aflac Logo I’ll be honest, paperwork confuses me.  I have to set aside time to focus, read, and reread information before I can comprehend it.  Any paperwork over two or three pages is overwhelming to me.  School loans {thankfully paid off!}, a will {which we have to sit down and read over our draft before we make it official}, retirement choices, any type of medical or insurance paperwork.  I understand all of these things in theory but instead of just assuming I’m making the right choices and winging it I want to slow down and carefully consider everything.  I don’t want to cross my fingers and hope that I my husband has enough money to retire one day, or that he’ll have enough money if I happen to pass away, or that I’ll have the insurance or savings built up to cover an emergency.  I enjoy being prepared…even if that takes a lot of effort on my part.

Some expenses people incur are obvious ones, ones that should have been planned for.  Wedding anniversaries come once a year, I can’t for the life of me understand why people don’t save money for them or add them to their budget instead of charging an expensive gift.  Of course buying a gift they can afford or making a homemade gift would be great too.  School clothes and supplies are a hassle every year….every year.  Devise a plan to pay for them instead of paying off your credit card till Christmas when you’ll pile on more debt.  It just makes sense to me!

With medical expenses, things are less black and white.  You never know when an emergency will arise.  You have to consider your family’s health and bank account and weigh the options.  Do you have the money in savings to cover $X amount of bills?  Would you rather pay for someone else to cover your costs in the event something were to happen?  Everyone’s situation is unique.

Hospital pic

This time last year I was in the hospital and it was totally unexpected.  I went to the doctor to complain about a pain I was having and ended up spending days in the hospital.  I had a follow up visit to remove a pump they put in.  Then I had surgery a few weeks later.  Again, I had more follow up visits.  These were definitely some unexpected medical costs!

I’ve seen some dear friends and family really come close to losing everything after an unexpected medical emergency.  Even with medical insurance the out of pocket costs added up quickly.

The Aflac Real Cost Calculator is a great tool that can help you break down the expenses of medical care.  I spent some time playing around with the different scenarios and the numbers were crazy!  A broken leg seems like a common procedure but it costs over $10,000!

I heard somewhere that medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy and I would have to agree with that.  If people have planned ahead and had a savings account built up then I would say skip the insurance but if they don’t, Aflac insurance might be a good safety net to have.  Aflac helps offset the out of pocket cost of medical bills.  If you’re interested in getting this extra safety net for your family check our the Aflac Real Cost Calculator for yourself.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Aflac. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.