Open enrollment time is here. Here's what you need to know about health insurance options

John Gregory Image
Monday, October 16, 2023
Health insurance: What you need to know about your options
Health insurance: What you need to know about your options

You've probably seen this email from your employer: now is the time to review your health insurance plan for 2024.

Reviewing those options can feel overwhelming, comparing everything from premiums and deductibles, to co-pays and HSA.

Here's what you need to know when navigating your health insurance options.

"So starting with price, people wanna ask themselves, how much can I afford to spend on healthcare, and also how much am I willing to spend on healthcare in terms of out-of-pocket costs?," said Elizabeth Ayoola, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet. "You wanna think about your deductible, your copay, your coinsurance, your premium, and all of that added together -- and think about how much that's gonna cost you."

What to focus on when picking health insurance

Ayoola recommends most people focus on three issues: your budget, your health situation and location.

"For people who are relatively healthy, then you may decide that you wanna go for a cheaper healthcare plan because you don't go to the doctor often," Ayoola explaned. "But if you frequent the doctor, you have existing healthcare issues, then you may want to go for something that's a little bit more expensive, but that gives you more coverage."

What is a PPO plan?

You'll also want to make sure your network's providers are reasonably close by. And make sure you're comfortable with the plan's level of flexibility.

"'PPO plans give you a lot of flexibility," Ayoola said. "You can go directly to a specialist without seeing a primary care provider, and you also have many providers that you can choose from. You can also go outside of network but it will cost you unlike with HMO plans."

PPO plans may also be a better fit for people with pre-existing health conditions, or people who would like to see specific specialists that may be out of network.

What is an HMO plan?

HMO plans tend to be lower cost and are often a choice for people who only visit a doctor once or twice year.

However, your provider network is smaller, and you'll need a referral to see a specialist.

"If you are on a tight budget or you are relatively healthy, and you can do away with needing to directly see a specialist, or you're okay with not having as many providers to choose from, then HMO plan may be ideal for you," Ayoola said.

Which one is right for you will all depend on you and your family's specific circumstances.

Join us every weekday morning on Eyewitness News at 5 a.m. for our new segment, ABC7 On Your Side. John Gregory has you covered on money-saving tips, including tricks to save on your bills, smart negotiating tactics, plus where you can score free stuff!