Open enrollment — and insurance in general — can be tricky to navigate. There are so many options that sometimes you just want someone to make it easy and tell you what kind of coverage you need and which plan is best for your situation.
Rest assured: You’re far from the only one who would appreciate some open enrollment tips. Just under half of employees call making decisions about their health insurance “very stressful,” and over half say they’d like their employer to help them choose a plan.
So when you’re really lost, where’s the best place to get health insurance advice?
Contact Your Health Insurance Carrier
Because health insurance can be so confusing, your question might be more common than you think. If you need help with your current plan, first see if you can dig out the materials you were given when you enrolled, since this might be the quickest route to an answer. If those packets hit the recycling bin months ago, try your insurer’s website, where you’re likely to find articles, resources and FAQs that are tailored to people in your position.
Beyond that, most health insurance carriers have advisers or agents readily available to walk you through your insurance plan options and offer open enrollment tips. You can find contact information for experts in your insurance choices by checking your carrier’s website. This service is typically free, so there’s no downside to calling and asking any questions you might have.
Ask Your Broker
If you get health insurance through your employer, chances are they use a broker to access the plans they offer to employees. This person takes the information and needs of your company and funnels them through to your health insurance carrier, simplifying the fine print for your employer and making the enrollment process more efficient for the carrier.
Your company’s health insurance broker has all of your plan documents and is intimately familiar with health care laws, making them a perfect person to go to with your insurance questions. They should be able to provide you with a summary of your benefits as part of your enrollment process, but they can also answer specific questions about the plans you can pick.
Check Out Your State’s Insurance Website
Health insurance gets even more complicated when you consider that rules and regulations may vary on a state-by-state basis. While getting in touch with a real, live person should be enough to get you oriented in the right direction, visiting your specific state’s health insurance website might help.
There you’ll find trustworthy information that may speak to your needs more specifically than your plan materials or articles on your insurer’s website.
Remember that even if you find the right person to go to for advice, you won’t get much out of the experience if you don’t know what questions you need answered. So take the time to write out your areas of confusion and points of concern. Are there details or terms you don’t understand? Does the math not seem to add up? Do you have a special circumstance you need to address? Are you worried that there might be gaps in your coverage that you want help filling?
When you’re searching through piles of benefits emails and brochures, finding the perfect insurance can be difficult — especially if no one plan covers everything you want it to. But even though you might need to find them, there are resources out there waiting to help get you exactly what you need.