Searching for the perfect health insurance plan can be an extremely stressful process, especially for those on a fixed income. With open enrollment season kicking off on November 15th and ending on February 15, 2015 (for 2015 coverage), now is the perfect time to start doing research in order to choose the perfect health insurance plan for you and your family. Cigna national medical officer Dr. Scott T. Josephs joined me for an interview yesterday to share his advice for picking the perfect health plan, and how you can save money when doing so.
Candace Rose: Choosing a health insurance plan can be a stressful experience, what advice do you have for those who are currently searching for the perfect plan?
Dr. Scott T. Josephs: “Well, we did a survey (Cigna) that looked at that very question. What we found, Candace, is a very tight link between health and financial security. In fact, 3/4 of the people we surveyed were concerned that healthcare costs could prevent their ability to have a secure retirement.
Yet, and to answer your question, we found on average that more than half of the people spent less than one hour choosing a health plan – less than one hour! I urge your followers to spend the time and ask the appropriate questions, so they can make the right financial decision, as well as health decision for themselves and their family.”
Candace Rose: I can’t imagine spending only an hour choosing a health plan. Why do you think this is? Is it out of fear and anxiety?
Dr. Scott T. Josephs: “I don’t think people really stop and consider how important of financial decision this is. Let me give you an example – when asked, 44% of the people we surveyed were concerned that healthcare costs could prevent their ability to pay for a child’s college.
Think about when we were growing up, parents were concerned that they wanted to stay healthy so that they can be healthy enough to see their child graduate from college, now parents are concerned that they stay healthy so that they can afford to pay for their child’s college. It’s a much different dynamic. Yet, people can be overwhelmed by this decision, so it’s important to ask the right questions, Candace.”
Candace Rose: Health insurance can be expensive, especially for those who are on a fixed income. Why advice do you have for them?
Dr. Scott T. Josephs: “First of all, remember that preventive care is 100% covered – screening for cervical and breast cancer, colorectal cancers screening, checking for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, vaccinations – all are 100% covered, please utilize it.
In addition, make sure that the doctor and hospital you use are in the network. Out of network costs can be so expensive and can be really financially painfully, frankly.
Use generic medications when at all possible, and remember, emergency rooms are very expensive settings of care. If you’re having a true emergency, please go to an emergency room. But if you’re not having an emergency, please seek care elsewhere which will be much less expensive.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dr. Scott T. Josephs: “Sure, during opening enrollment season, certainly check your employers website – they may have information, they may have an enrollment fair. But also, check Cigna’s website: https://www.Cigna.com/KnowYourBenefits. There’s a wealth of information to help you navigate your healthcare choices.”