YOUR MONEY: Choosing the right healthcare plan for you

YOUR MONEY: Choosing the right healthcare plan for you

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Open Enrollment for Marketplace Coverage begins on Sunday, Nov. 1.

Some individuals may already be in an Open Enrollment window to choose a healthcare plan through their employer.

In either case, know that you have a limited amount of time to make some important choices that are going to affect your health over the next year.

Before you choose your health plan take the time to do your own research and see which one will benefit you the most instead of going with the cheapest plan.

If you go with the cheapest healthcare plan that may save you some money, but what if something happens to you medically and you don’t have the proper coverage to pay for your hospital expenses? You will end up paying more out-of-pocket costs. That’s just one example.

Ellen Alderman who works for Iron Horse Financial, which is part of the Guardian Insurance Network. She works with people in helping them determine their financial future to make sure they are educated and have confidence in their decisions. Her office is located in Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge.

When you look at all of the healthcare plan options through your employer or on the Marketplace there are a lot of categories that you might typically skip over.

“You need to look at each one of them," she said. "That’s the most important thing you need to understand is that it’s individual to your specific needs. An example – a younger person – a high deductible plan may be a good option. They would have to look at how many times a year do they typically go to the doctor versus someone with a family of five who have children that go to the doctor more often. You want to look at the maximum out of pocket scenario and kind of do the math of how much you think you would spend with each individual plan and understand what would you need available in your reserves, should you reach that max out of pocket. Determine for yourself which one you think is the best and if you’re unsure reach out to a professional.”

If you’re healthy and rarely get sick you might be wondering whether it’s worth paying a little extra for an increase in benefits or health coverage.

There’s always the uncertainty of the unknown so what if you got into a life-changing car accident? Or what if you were injured at work or what if you had a serious accident affecting your ability to work?

“According to the Social Security Administration, 20 year olds have a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled before the age of 65 so, if you look at what that would do cumulatively between whatever age it is and 65 and not having enough income and understanding how to protect that income and when you put coverages in place at an earlier age it’s less expensive - in most cases. Again, nothing is a one size fits all so you definitely want to take a look at disability insurance. Most people overlook it.”

If you have been with the same employer for a while now and you have not made any changes to your healthcare plan in years, go ahead and review it this year.

Check your plan and see if your doctors and specialists are still within your network. You could end up paying more for the doctor you’ve been going to for years if they are not in your provider’s network. You may not find out until you go to the doctor for your annual checkup.

Something else to consider is life insurance. This conversation may have come up more this year due to COVID-19. Whether you are young or old, healthy or not, in the event of a sudden death do you have a plan for your money?

“I like to make sure that people understand when someone passes away and they get a large amount of money how does that money, in the end, generate income for your family? That’s definitely something someone needs to work with a professional and understand. There are a lot of questions and unknowns and every answer – like I said and I will repeatedly say – is different for every person.”

These are just some of the things you need to think about as you make decisions that affect your money and your health.

Take some time this weekend to carefully look over your options and choose what’s best for you. If you go through it and realize you have a lot of questions reach out to a financial advisor to see what would be the best choice for you and your family.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.