Health Insurance – Are you ready for next year?

Right around the corner is open enrollment for health insurance with marketplace plans ‒ those offered by the government. It may seem early to think about health insurance if you are enrolled in the marketplace, but that is not the case. If you have one of these plans, the open enrollment period runs from November 1 to December 15, 2019, and right now is exactly the time of year when you need to think about whether your current plan is working for you.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are the doctors/providers you visit considered in-network?
  • Are you expecting any changes in your health that may lead to considering a different plan?
  • When adding your premium and out-of-pocket costs are you in the most affordable plan?
  • If you are using a flexible spending account or health savings account are you setting aside the right amount of money?
  • Are your prescription drugs covered by your current plan?
  • Is the type of plan you are enrolled in meeting your needs?  For example, you may be enrolled in an HMO and want more flexibility in your plan.

These are just some questions to consider. Most likely you have a gut feeling if your plan is working for you, but you should compare plans to ensure you have the best option for your financial situation.


You may have an employer sponsored plan or selected private insurance. While your enrollment period may be different, your considerations about health insurance and whether your current plan is working for you remains the same. Employers typically send out notices to employees, and private plans will notify you in writing or electronically when open enrollment begins so that you may make changes or adjustments.

Keep in mind that health insurance is a year round process.  Once you select insurance, you need to use it.  Why not? You are paying for it. Throughout the year keep track of your records and how you use your insurance. Keeping records helps your track your medical conditions, prepares you to discuss issues with insurance companies, and plan for your future insurance needs.

The Health Insurance Literacy Initiative (HILI) team from University of Maryland and University of Delaware Cooperative Extension have resources to help you make informed decisions about health insurance.  The My Smart Choice Workbook can guide you through the process of comparing plans.  There are also a number of useful resources available on our consumer website.  There you can find information like considerations for selecting a doctor, estimating health care costs, and important words to know. You can also find valuable information on the website.

2 thoughts on “Health Insurance – Are you ready for next year?

  1. In a PPO, you can use doctors who are not part of the plan and still receive some health insurance coverage. At these times, you will pay a larger portion of the bill yourself (and also fill out the claims forms).


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