Need to Know: Your Guide to Understanding Open Enrollment

Need to Know: Your Guide to Understanding Open Enrollment

When it comes to taking care of yourself, exercising, eating right, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is only part of the equation. The other part? Making sure that you’re covered when it’s time to schedule that routine doctor’s appointment, or worse — when the unexpected happens.

But even if you’ve put signing up for healthcare is at the top of your to-do list, navigating the ins and outs can be tricky. We get it — there’s a lot to consider. And that’s why we’ve teamed up with the folks at the UPMC Health Plan to answer some essential questions about getting health insurance during Open Enrollment — the time of year when you’re able to choose or change your health insurance plan.

How does health insurance work?

If you have insurance for your car or house, you already sort of know how health insurance works. Each month, you pay a premium to your health insurance company or health plan. Then, when you need care (like a trip to the doctor or medication), your insurance company helps you cover the cost. So you might end up paying $20 for a doctor’s visit that actually costs $100. Your health plan picks up the difference.

Why get covered?

There are a lot of advantages to making sure you’ve got that healthcare box checked. Sure, we want to be in tip-top shape at all times. But life is unpredictable. If you have healthcare, you can rest easy knowing you have a safety net in your back pocket.

On the other hand, if you don’t have insurance, getting the care you need to get and stay healthy can be a huge burden (both mentally and financially). Without coverage, not only is your peace of mind out the window, but even a non-emergency doctor’s can result in you getting hit with a hefty bill you may not be able to swing. Having health care protects you from all that.

Plus, with the UPMC Health Plan, you’ll have access to top-ranked care, award-winning customer service from a team of Health Care Concierges, healthcare coordination services, and more. You’ll be able to stay on top of your health and catch a problem early — when they’re easier to treat.

What are my options?

Honestly, the answer to this question is a little bit different for everyone. And ultimately, it’s up to you to do your research and make an educated decision about your coverage. But, generally speaking, your options will depend on several things, like age, state of residence, income level, employment status, and other personal factors. Your options could include:

  1. Staying on your parent’s plan until you are 26 years old
  2. Job-based insurance coverage, if your employer provides it to you
  3. Student health insurance, depending on your school
  4. Purchasing your own plan

For more information, visit UPMC Health Plan’s Marketplace to explore your coverage options and keep your self-care game on point.