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Money Talk: Tips for choosing a health plan

September 25, 2018

Gateway services

This fall, millions will head to the polls to cast their vote in the mid-term elections, but they have another important choice to make as well: their health care coverage for 2019.

People will have the opportunity to select or switch their health insurance plans for 2019 during open or annual enrollment.

But unlike Election Day, the dates to keep in mind aren’t the same for everyone and vary depending on your situation:

• For the more than 175 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many companies set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.

• For the more than 60 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.

• Health insurance marketplace or individual state exchange open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

For most people, changes made during this time will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Review your options. Take the time to explore your options and understand the benefits and costs of each plan so you can find the coverage that works best for you. Beyond the monthly premium, you also should understand what out-of-pocket costs, including the deductible, copays and coinsurance, you might be responsible for.

Prevent financial surprises. Before you select a plan, check if your doctor is in your health plan’s care provider network. Visiting doctors that are in-network is one way to help keep your costs lower. If you select a plan that would make your visit to a doctor or hospital outside the network, make sure you understand the costs.

Look for ways to save. Ask about incentive-based wellness programs that reward you for living a healthier lifestyle. Some health plans offer incentives for their members to participate in activities that might help improve their health, such as completing a health assessment, visiting a gym, lowering their cholesterol, participating in a wellness-coaching or tobacco-cessation program, or even just walking.

Don’t forget about additional benefits and features. Open or annual enrollment is the ideal time to select benefit plans that can help protect you and your family from head to toe, so consider adding vision, dental and financial protection plans such as life, accident or critical illness coverage.

THE LIST

According to Insideevs.com, the Top 10 best-selling electric cars in the U.S. for 2018 are:

1. Tesla Model 3

2. Toyota Prius Prime

3. Tesla Model S

4. Tesla Model X

5. Chevrolet Volt

6. Chevrolet Bolt EV

7. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

8. Nissan LEAF

9. Ford Fusion Energi

10. BMW 530e

NUMBER TO KNOW

$16.7 billion: The European Union recently announced it had collected $16.7 billion from Apple for receiving illegal tax benefits and back taxes.

TECH TALK

Twitter users can now switch between timelines: Twitter recently announced it has brought back the option for its users to view their timelines in chronological order. The social media company said users will be able to switch between the “most relevant” tweets and the latest tweets.

Although the new feature hasn’t been rolled out, users can choose to turn off the “Show the best tweets first” setting to see tweets from only people the user follows.

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