For millions of consumers, choosing a new health insurance plan can be so overwhelming that they never do it at all, keeping either an outdated plan or remaining uninsured. This year, however, experts at the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) have released a new step-by-step guide that helps patients get organized and get covered.
The publication, “Step-by-Step Guide for Choosing a Health Plan,” was released in time for open enrollment, which runs from November 1, 2021 – January 15, 2022 for coverage in the 2022 plan year.
“The whole process can be too much for most people,” said Caitlin Donovan, senior director of public relations at NPAF. “Even choosing between two plans can prompt anxiety, because health care is filled with a lot of jargon people don’t understand and costs that are not transparent. It’s a process that, if done correctly, could take much longer than most people initially expect.”
Indeed, Donovan recommends most people set aside at least two hours to choose a plan this year, citing the various information people will need to organize before they take the final step of evaluating plans, like a list of their preferred providers and their current prescription medications.
“The guide does a great job of breaking down the process. My favorite part are the work sheets, so that once people gather their information, they understand where it goes and how to use it,” she said.
The guide breaks down the process of choosing a plan into four easy steps:
Step 1: Gather the names of the doctors that are important to you and any prescription medications you are currently taking.
Step 2: Enter your information on healthcare.gov.
Step 3: Use the filter option to find certain information, like deductibles, premiums and covered providers for different plans you are interested in.
Step 4: Use NPAF’s worksheets found in the guide to decide on the right plan.
About NPAF: National Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of patients in support of better access to affordable, quality, equitable care. As the advocacy affiliate of the Patient Advocate Foundation, NPAF advocates for patients and provides educational resources to help patients advocate for themselves.