Open enrollment for the 2023 health insurance season has finally come. This is also the time that most college students find out that they can’t stay on their parents’ plan anymore due to them being older.
Enrolling for the first time can be scary and could attract sketchy insurance companies that spread misleading information.
Here is a guide on how to find affordable health insurance and know which plan to pick.
The first necessary step before finding health insurance is to know your necessities because every insurance company has different plans. According to Selena Simmons-Duffins’ NPR article, “Open enrollment Is here: 6 tips for choosing a health insurance plan,” there are constant changes and new bundles in health insurance plans. This is for individuals who need more than one thing to be constantly checked but cannot afford to buy a big plan.
This means understanding what needs constant care is very important. For example, if you are a 22-year-old woman who needs glasses but knows they need to look into a pap smear, you will need to look for a plan that offers an ophthalmologist and OB-GYN. Not understanding your medical needs can hurt your pockets long term because you will end up spending more money than you expected.
Charlene Wong, a doctor and academic at Duke University, talked about her past experiences of not picking the right plan that lined up with her necessities with Simmons-Duffins. “We spent several days researching plans and called around to make sure the doctors we wanted to see were in network,” Wong said.
It’s easy to focus only on monthly payments when looking at plans but according to Simmons-Duffins’ guideline, it is advised to look at yearly costs as well. This is important because you need to know how much money you may pay out of pocket.
A tool that can help you compare these prices is on HealthCare.gov .
Wong recommends using this tool, especially if you are not used to choosing plans “Trying to figure out that math can be a little bit tricky, especially for people who are not as familiar with health insurance,” she said.
If you still feel uncomfortable finding a plan by yourself, help will always be available. HealthCare.gov has professionals who are trained to help individuals for free. You have the choice of calling their number 1-800-318-2596 that is available 24/7 or set up an appointment with an agent near you. Students in Tallahassee have used these options before and agreed that it was very helpful and guided them to an affordable plan.
“It was super easy and the agent I was working with was so nice,” said Sarah Virgil, a transfer student at Florida State University.
The enrollment date has been open since Nov. 1 and will end Jan. 15.