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Health Insurance Open Enrollment Tips
Date:10/30/2008

Employees often must make 2009 plan choices in November

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Many Mainers have more than just candidates to choose from at this time of year. For employees in companies that offer a health insurance benefit, November is usually the time of the year when they have to choose among a variety of health insurance plan options to go into effect in 2009.

Many Maine companies offer between two and eight choices of health insurance plans. The options will usually have different costs to the employee both in the amount deducted from their paycheck and the total cost of the coverage for deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance over the course of the year.

Studies have shown that consumers typically do more research when buying a car or a major appliance then they do in selecting a health insurance plan. These studies also indicate that most people spend an hour or less reviewing their insurance plan options and often just default to the plan they have had the previous year.

"It's a mistake not to look carefully at your plan options each year and carefully weigh which plan is the best fit for you and your family," said Dan Corcoran, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Corcoran noted that often consumers will choose the plan that has the least impact on their pay check when that choice may not be the best choice overall.

Plans with higher monthly premiums and lower co-pays and deductibles might be best for those who anticipate using a lot of health care services over the course of the year. On the other hand, young and healthy people without kids might save with a plan that features low premiums and a high deductible.

But there are always tradeoffs. For example, a lower cost plan may have more "pre-authorization" requirements in order to see a specialist.

Here are some general consumer tips for choosing a health insurance plan:

1. Do your homework and take
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SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
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