Protect Yourself and Those You Love: 3 Open Enrollment Tips


Protect Yourself and Those You Love: 3 Open Enrollment Tips

This post is sponsored by Dignity Health.
A few years ago, the Affordable Care Act reform passed, and it required all American citizens and legal permanent residents to have medical coverage. Honestly, for several years I thought that it was an unnecessary expense. My parents and I would always wait until the last minute to re-enroll, and when we did we conducted very little research on the plans we chose. However, that will never happen again. This year, we became harshly aware of how crucial it is to take time to do our due diligence to research and find the best insurance policy for us. 

When my mom– the most important person in my life– became ill this year, we understood that the decision we took at the beginning of year during Open Enrollment was highly important. We learned that we really do have to do our research and find a plan that covers us for what’s expected, but also for the unexpected challenges that life throws at us.  

Open Enrollment began October 15, 2018 and it ends on January 15, 2019. So, if you haven’t yet enrolled, here are three tips that I hope will help you make this process less stressful. 

1.     Do Not Leave It Until the Last Minute
The worst thing you can do is wait until the last minute and make health care decisions. Why? Because when you do, you will feel pressured to pick whatever plan you see first, and not what is best for you. 

Dignity Health— one of the nation’s largest health systems— conducted a survey and asked Latinos how they felt about Open Enrollment. 88% of the Latinos surveyed (9 out of 10) said that they find it stressful to research health insurance options during Open Enrollment. 

This does not surprise me because I’m part of that 88%. However, when life teaches you how important this decision is, you begin to understand that you have to make it a priority. This year, please do not wait until the last minute. Inform yourself, do your research, and get yourself and your loved ones insured. 

I know some of the terms that we encounter during our research can be a bit challenging, and we might feel intimidated because we don’t know what they mean. I have a Master’s degree, and I sometimes get confused with some of the terminology used on insurance policies. For that reason, it is crucial that you take your time while doing research. Write down the terms you don’t know and then do more research to find out what they mean. This will help you pick the right plan for you and your family. 

2.     Think About the Future
We often think that because we are healthy right now we do not need additional coverage; however, as I mentioned before, this year I learned that we always have to plan ahead. Prioritize your health, and be prepared for any emergency that might arise. 

Take your time while searching for health insurance, but while you do it also consider the future needs or unexpected needs of your family. THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE!We never know what this year can bring, but it is important to pick a plan that will give us a good deductible in the case of any unexpected illness or emergency. 

Although Open Enrollment can be stressful, researching and planning for the future is key. It will help you have better medical attention and, in the case that something happens (which I hope it does not), you are covered and you will be able to focus on getting well and not be stressed about your finances. 
1.     It’s Better Together
We already established that Open Enrollment is stressful; however, you do not need to do it alone. Schedule a coffee date with your partner, your parents, or other family members, and do research together. Have you ever heard the saying “two brains are better than one”? Well, I think that it is easier to process information, and it is also less stressful, when you talk it out with another person. 

This year I sat down with my parents and we looked at various health plans for them who are older and for me. To be honest, we used to pick plans based on the monthly payment, but this year we decided that we are all going to prioritize our health and wellbeing; and, we also want to be prepared for any emergency that might arise. My Mom is our household’s pillar, and knowing that she will be able to have better health coverage this upcoming year gives us peace of mind. 

If you do not have anyone who can guide you during this period, DO NOT WORRY. LOOK FOR HELP! There are many nonprofit organizations and insurance experts that can help you enroll. If you qualify, you can get government assistance that will pay for part of your health insurance policy. If you are confused and lost, seek help. These non-profits or insurance experts can help answer some of the questions you might have. Visit the following link if you want to speak with a medical insurance expert!

We all deserve to feel comfortable with our health care decisions. This Open Enrollment period, Dignity Healthis committed to informing Latinos about the importance of selecting a medical plan that takes care of your health and wellbeing. With more than 10,000 physicians and 60,000 employees across 39 acute care hospitals and 400 care-centers,  Dignity Health is rooted in delivering excellent patient care with compassion. For more information about selecting your health plan this Open Enrollment, Visit:

Overall, I have learned that while having medical insurance gives you peace of mind, it’s most reassuring when you know that the physicians and clinics you’ve chosen within that plan are the right ones for your family.

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