How you can maximize coverage while saving money during open enrollment

Posted at 5:39 AM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 06:56:54-04

(WXYZ) — Open enrollment season is here. It's time to look ahead and select coverage for 2022.

With inflation making every dollar count even more, how do you maximize coverage while protecting your family's health and finances? Our Keenan Smith looked at some key benefit elections you should consider for 2022.

For Shannon Gallagher, open enrollment is a time of stress. Like so many of us, she's trying to balance protecting her family and saving money.

"For a lot of us, it's hard out here. We don't have big jobs. We can't afford big things. We do want the best coverage for our family and our loved ones," she said.

When selecting coverage, Scott Harrison, the agency director with the Benefits Group in Rochester Hills, says know the language of insurance.

"Familiarize yourself with the terms deductible coinsurance out of pocket, maximum office of the copays premium," Harrison said.

Those are all terms that describe money you have to pay, but the circumstances vary. Knowing these terms will help you avoid nasty surprises.

Telemedicine saw a big boost during COVID-19 and Harrison suggests we know our telehealth options, which tend to be cheaper than in-person visits.

Use plan preventative care benefits, which covers mammograms, cancer screenings, colonoscopies and immunization.

"The thought processes is that they covered at 100%. It incentivizes you to get screened early to prevent those big issues from transpiring down the line," Harrison said.

While your plan may cover the cost of medication, Harrison said don't be afraid to test outside options like GoodRx. Pharmacies have different pricing options for different plans, and you could find a better price by using free supplemental coverage.

"Talking to your physician, they have may have samples that they can offer you. And then direct manufacturer coupons are available in many instances as well," Harrison said.

Keisha Taylor uses manufacturer coupons for her $1,200 a month medication and says it works.

"With the manufacturer, I can usually get it for anywhere between $50 and $60 instead of that $1,200," Taylor said.

Another way to save is to use a cost estimator and shop around for common, non-emergency surgeries, diagnostic tests and imaging.

Going on the cost estimator tool and searching for an MRI, you'll find pricing for MRIs ranging from $400 to $2,000, depending on where you go.

Paying less for the same services saves the insurance company money, but you too, in the form of lower out-of-pocket co-pays.

While you're looking to save, don't skimp on disability insurance, which will give you income in the event of a life-changing injury.

If you don't opt in for dental or eye insurance, make sure you get those exams every year which can provide a view into your overall health. Eye exams can spot high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and even Parkinson's.

Dentists can help identify Anemia, immune disorders, diabetes and kidney failure.