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Tips for Choosing Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

An estimated 1.75 million Americans have employer-sponsored health coverage. (Orin Ryan/Flickr)
An estimated 1.75 million Americans have employer-sponsored health coverage. (Orin Ryan/Flickr)
October 19, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Candidates in the upcoming election aren't the only choices Kentuckians need to make this fall. Some workers will have to decide on health insurance options for 2019.

Executive Director of United Healthcare of Kentucky Paul Brophy explains it's the time of year when many companies set aside a two-week period for employees to select health benefits for the following year. And he recommends people take time to review all their options and costs to find the best-fitting coverage.

One important point, he says, is checking to see if your doctor is in a health plan's care provider network.

"If an employee has a physician that currently is in their network of providers and the employer decides to move to a new carrier – and that provider happens to not be in-network – the employee could be facing higher out-of-pocket expenses when they go to receive care from that provider," says Brophy.

And beyond the monthly premium, he notes there are out-of-pocket expenses to consider, such as deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance. Health changes are another important consideration, such as a pregnancy or planned surgery.

It's estimated that 1.75 million Americans have employer-sponsored health coverage.

There are ways to reduce the cost of health coverage. Brophy says many health insurance companies offer incentive-based wellness programs that reward members for a healthy lifestyle. He adds another option to consider is a Health Savings Account.

"Let's just say someone has some kind of a surgery planned for the year," says Brophy. “They can make a decision to set aside funds in a Health Savings Account on a pre-tax basis and then, be able to utilize those funds for that treatment later in the year. So, it is very much a personal planning process."

Some Kentuckians without employer-sponsored coverage will also be making decisions soon for 2019. Medicare's annual enrollment period is open and runs until December 7. And open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace begins November 1.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY