Health Insurance: Review Your Coverage Before October

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By: Charlestien Harris

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s to be sure we now have adequate medical insurance for ourselves and our members of the family. Having health coverage is an important a part of being financially responsible; not having adequate health coverage has caused bankruptcy for a lot of families. This text is being written to sound the alarm about how essential having the correct health coverage is. 

In the subsequent month or two, most employers will begin to advertise their open enrollment period for his or her employees and/or their dependents for next yr’s profit selection. Now is the time to try your current medical insurance plan and consider whether it meets your needs. Also, it might be helpful to take into consideration whether you’ve any life events coming up that would have an effect on the profit package you choose for next yr. This is also an excellent time to try any “use-it-or-lose-it” flexible spending accounts, corresponding to some health care and dependent-care accounts, to be sure you’re not missing out on reimbursements. 

Here is an inventory of life changing events that may affect your health coverage plan, in addition to the premium amount.

  • Change of family status. Once you experience a significant shift in your loved ones life, your advantages can also need to vary. This variation will greater than likely affect the quantity of your premium, and you will want so as to add or remove a dependent out of your health plan.  Family changes that count as qualifying life events include:
    • Getting married
    • Bringing children into the family with the birth of a baby, adoption, or foster care
    • Divorce
    • Death of a member enrolled in your health plan
  • You or a dependent is popping 26. Medical health insurance coverage changes while you or a dependent turns 26. It’s a “milestone” birthday within the healthcare industry – a signal for the child birds to “leave the nest” of their parents’ medical insurance and find their very own coverage. In case you just turned 26, you shall be faraway from your parents’ plan and now have to search out your personal policy. Some providers will notify you mechanically, but don’t count on that. Review your policy commonly and make the mandatory changes.
  • Changing your address. One other change that may affect your health care plan is moving. It may very well be that you just’re relocating to an area where your current coverage isn’t available. Or, you is likely to be moving to an area where your current coverage is offered, but there is likely to be recent plans to contemplate. In case you’ve recently moved, you’ll want to review your health coverage to see in case you still have the identical advantages, or if they may change because chances are you’ll now fall out of the “network” covered in your original plan.
  • A change in your employment status. A change in employment status can be considered a life event that may affect your health care coverage. The change may very well be voluntary or involuntary, corresponding to: laid off, dismissed, resigned, quit, or retired. In case you’ve experienced a job change, now could be the time to review your health coverage as well. In case you are retired or have been separated out of your job, then the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) could also be considered one of the choices you think about.
  • Turning 65 is one other life changing event. Turning 65 is one other moment that may affect your health care plan decisions, and is taken into account a qualifying life event. This offers you a probability to look into your opportunities for a Medicare plan. The sign-up time for Medicare is three months before your sixty fifth birthday or 3 months after that birthday. In case you fail to join Medicare, you’ll risk being assessed a ten percent surcharge in your Medicare Part B for every year-long period you go without coverage upon being eligible. This might also affect your retirement advantages. You’ll want to check so you may make any changes needed.

In most situations, chances are you’ll have to make changes to your health plan inside a particular time-frame of the qualifying life event. Changes can most frequently be made either 30 or 60 days after the qualifying life event happened or throughout the open enrollment period your employer has set.  Missing a deadline could mean having to attend until the subsequent open enrollment, which may very well be so long as a yr. That’s the reason it’s vitally essential that you just begin to review your health care policies early – if there are any changes to be made, you may make them in a timely manner.  

Standard short-term medical insurance plans can aid you fill a spot in coverage from one month to slightly below a yr until you may review your health care options. Staying abreast of the small print of your health coverage policies can keep your funds so as and in addition give you the knowledge to avoid any surprises or unexpected lapse in coverage since you did not update your life-changing event information.  

For more information on this or other financial topics please email me at Charlestien.harris@southernpartners.org, or call me at 662-624-5776.  

Until next week — stay financially fit!

Charlestien Harris is a financial contributor to DeSoto County News. She is a financial expert with Southern Bancorp Community Partners whose articles are seen in a lot of publications across the region. You’ll be seeing her columns weekly on the DeSoto County News website and our social media channels.

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