Picking The Right Plan: Tips For Negotiating The Open Enrollment Period

    It's that time of year.  Andritz engineer Matthew Killian has to pull the trigger on a health insurance plan for his family.  He has a wife, and 12-year old twins, and they're all healthy.
  "But I'm also conservative and I'd like to know what I'm going to pay when I go to the doctor," Killian says. "And, I'm also concerned about accidents and injuries and what that will ultimately cost me,  if something was to happen." he says.
       Andritz Human Resources Manager Grace Perry knows the Open Enrollment period, and all the choices it brings, can leave people frazzled.
     "Because benefits are somewhat scary for employees for some reason. It's kind of like the unknown," explains Perry.
       So, to pick a plan for 2016, Perry encourages people to think about what kind of coverage they're  likely to need over the next year.
   "I think it's really important for them to understand their family situation and they're medical needs for the upcoming year," she says.
     Next, Perry recommends consumers consider how often they actually visit the doctor.  
"If they're fairly healthy and so is their family, the high-deductible will work best for them," she says. "Because they're not going to the doctor quite a bit, and it's a lower premium."
    On the other hand, if people see a doctor regularly, a higher-premium plan with a lower co-pay for office visits may be a better choice.   Perry says typically doesn't recommend one plan over another.
"But in most cases, most employees will find a high-deductible health plan is a better value for their well-worth-it money that they spend on benefits," she says.
   One last thing people should think about?  Their doctor.  Is he or she part of the plan they're considering?
"So that's a very wise choice to make and investigate. Employees are very attached to their doctors and we understand that," she says.
    In 2016, the tax penalty for not having health insurance coverage will increase.   It will be either 2.5% of a person's household income or $695 per adult in the home, whichever is great.  That fee could be taken our of your 2016 tax return.
  Keep in mind, the maximum federal fine for having no health insurance will be $695.  You have until December 15 to enroll. For more information about the insurance through the Affordable Care Act go to https://www.healthcare.gov/.
  If  you're participating in open enrollment for Medicare, you have until December 7.
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