Anyone that has been looking to just be seen by a doctor for some acute issue, maybe a slight sudden illness like the flu, they now have more options than just the emergency room. At one time regardless of your health insurance coverage, many folks were destined to sit in ER’s around the country for hours and maybe even watch hospital staff change shifts while they wait, and wait some more to be seen. With a lack of primary care physician availability and increasing wait times in the ER, first response of many people was to take an ambulance to get in right away, so they can hurry up to wait. Although there are folks that still believe the ER is the place to go when they have the flu, the landscape has changed quite a bit since then. Firstly, there are flu shots at the local pharmacy, and you can even see a doctor without going to the emergency room and waiting for your doctor to graduate from med school. What happened? One major change that is here to stay, Urgent Care Centers.
Annual “Open Enrollment” selections, elections and options are typically around October and November of every year. Most employees carryover the same options year after year, sometimes this is a big mistake, they’re leaving money on the table and that is not how the game is played. Much like you would review every line of tax deductions for expenses and credits at tax time, the same should be done to ensure annual elections are “optimized”. Everyone wants to get the most for their money, with that in mind making a decision for the entire year can be tricky. It’s necessary to consider everything from frequency doctor visits, dental visits, eye care, prescriptions, relocating or even if you don’t go to the doctor much more than preventative care and checkups here and there.
Consider everything from possible savings by reducing coverage, adding life insurance amounts, and of course the possible tax advantages of an FSA or HSA to help offset those wonderful co-pays and deductibles. I always wondered who came up with the “co-pay”, like really, a $10. co-pay?!?! Why? It’s always been a pain to make sure you have $10. or $15. in my pocket just for the co-pay!