The New Year always brings change, and the healthcare industry is no different. Many insurance plans run on a calendar year, which means your copays and deductibles apply from January 1st to December 31st of that year. Insurance benefits can change even if your employer sticks with the same company. Just because your employer decided to stick with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in the New Year doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have the same benefits. An unexpected benefit change or change in provider network status can mean surprise costs for you. Here some things you can do to be ready for any changes that may impact your insurance:
- Verify if your plan runs on a calendar year: Though many insurance plans do follow a calendar year for benefits, some do not. These run on plan years, which means their start and end dates can be at any point in the year. For example, a plan year could run 2/1/17-1/31/18, so any deductibles or copays would apply during that period. Knowing which benefits apply when is vital to tracking your benefit accumulations and preparing for your healthcare costs.
- Verify that your providers are in network with the new insurance: Many health insurance plans utilize networks of providers, and may provide little to no coverage if you see an out of network provider. Checking prior to the New Year or new policy effective date will give you more time to make arrangements should you find out that your provider is out of network. This is a good idea even if your insurance doesn’t company doesn’t change as provider’s contracts can always change and affect network status.
- Check through your benefits: I know that reading through your plan documents can be quite tedious and time-consuming, but it is an important part of planning for your healthcare costs. If you come across something you don’t understand, do not be afraid to reach out to your insurance. Taking a little extra time getting to know your policy will be worthwhile when it comes time to make healthcare decisions.
We at MPA hope you have a great and informed New Year!
Madison Psychiatric Associates