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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Open Enrollment 2019: Tips for Choosing a Health Plan

Oct 30, 2018 12:27PM

Millions will head to the polls this month to cast their vote in the mid-term elections, but there is also another important choice to make—your health care coverage for 2019.

The open enrollment period started in mid-October, and will end December 7 for Medicare and December 15 for individuals, so now is the time to consider your options. Choosing health benefits can feel stressful, but Dr. Mayrene Hernandez, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Florida, offers the following advice to make the process easier.  


Review Your Options.

Take the time to explore and understand the benefits and costs of each plan. Assess more than just the monthly premium, and review the out-of-pocket costs including the deductible, copays and coinsurance.


Prevent Financial Surprises/

Check if your current doctors are in the health plan’s care provider network. If they are not in-network and you don’t want to change, understand the costs you might incur. Also, verify if medications are covered by the plan, or purchase an add-on plan to help cover these costs.


Look for Ways to Save.

Ask about incentive-based wellness programs that reward you for living a healthier lifestyle. Also, check if your plan includes 24/7 telehealth services, which can save both time and money.


Consider Additional Benefits and Features.

Open or annual enrollment is the ideal time to select benefit plans that help protect you and your dependents, so consider adding vision, dental and financial protection plans such as life, accident or critical illness coverage.


Dr. Mayrene Hernandez is the chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Florida. She is also part of UnitedHealth Group’s South East Clinical Services Leadership Team, where she oversees hospital inpatient management in Florida. For more information, visit

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