Enrollment open for 2022 – what to look for in a health plan

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Starting this month, New Jersey employers are launching their open enrollment periods for workers to choose the type of health insurance coverage they want for themselves and their families in 2022.

You usually have a few weeks to make your decision whether or not you know what you are reading.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 6.5 million New Jersey residents will have the option to choose a health insurance plan for the New Year – through their employer, individually, or through Medicare.

The open enrollment period for New Jersey’s own health insurance market typically opens on November 1, but is open now as part of a special decision related to the COVID-19 public health crisis .

What to look for

In a conversation with New Jersey 101.5, Paul Marden, CEO of the Health Plan for UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey, suggested that consumers will want to pay attention to certain aspects of the plans available, depending on their health and specific circumstances. Here are some tips, whether you’re a newbie or blindly choosing a plan for years.

Understand your options

“Most people, quite frankly, don’t understand how health insurance works in terms of the deductible and the coinsurance and what they’re required to pay,” Marden said.

A quick internet search can easily educate consumers on common and unusual terms, he added.

Prescription / future expenses

“Some drugs that you might need… will have a different level of coverage, or might not be covered at all,” Marden said.

Marden added that people with persistent ailments or whose family members suffer from persistent ailments want to keep in mind the type and amount of medical care they might need in 2022.

Mental health / virtual coverage

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote healthcare use has increased dramatically in New Jersey and beyond.

“For a lot of people it’s more convenient, they’re going to stick to their dates,” Marden said. “Some plans actually have things like Express Access, where you can get a guaranteed appointment within five days.”

According to Marden, virtual care is available through most employer-sponsored plans, individual plans, and Medicare Advantage plans.

Marden notes that mental health should be covered at the same level as physical health.

Wellness programs / specialized benefits

You may be unaware of the benefits available to engage in a healthier life.

Through your employer or plan, you may receive bonus discounts, cash rewards, and other incentives to participate in programs related to goals such as losing weight, quitting, tobacco and diabetes management.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]

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