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Tips for navigating Open Enrollment

Every fall, businesses throughout our area offer Open Enrollment opportunities for their employees.

Though these opportunities come just once a year, they can have a big impact on your family. To make the most of your choices during Open Enrollment, it’s important to understand what your choices are and what effect these choices have on the health care you and your family will receive in the coming year.

Here are a few tips to help you understand the process as well as the options available to you:

  • Ask questions. Talk to your Human Resources representative and find out when your Open Enrollment deadline is. Ask what changes have been made to your options in the past year, including changes in health care plans and changes in cost to you.
  • Compare, compare, compare! Look at the plan choices you have and compare the out-of-pocket costs; the deductibles; the coverage; and the in-network physicians.
  • Prioritize. Determine what is most important to you. Your priority may be keeping your doctor or having access to a certain hospital or keeping your cost low. Once you know your priorities, making your choices will be easier.
  • Plan ahead. Many people choose a health insurance plan for where their life is right now. However, it is important to plan ahead and try to anticipate what your family’s medical needs may be in the coming year. Elective surgeries, pregnancies, vision, or dental needs can all have an impact on your health care choices. All of these considerations can affect which plan you choose (including whether you need a PPO or HMO), and also how much money you need to set aside in a flexible spending account (FSA), if that is an option for you.
  • Consider life changes. A lot can happen in 12 months, so consider what will be happening in your life in the coming year before you make your health care choices. Are you getting married? Having a baby? Changing careers? Is your child moving out of your house and onto his or her own insurance coverage? All of these life changes can have a big impact on what type of health insurance you need. Plan ahead!
  • Understand what you are signing up for. It can be overwhelming trying to decipher insurance paperwork. Figuring out co-pays, deductibles, premiums—it can feel like a different language. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the terminology so that you can compare your choices appropriately. Again, time spent now can save you money down the road and ensure that the coverage you need is available to you.

Dignity Health in Kern County accepts a number of different health insurance plans.

Ready to learn more? Select an option below to get started.

I am a CalPERS Member

Dignity Health is offered through many of the health plans available to CalPERS members.

I have health insurance through my employer

This Open Enrollment, be sure the health plan you choose includes Dignity Health. Ask your HR Benefits Manager or click below to learn more.

I buy my own insurance

Get health coverage for your whole family through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Click below to learn about available options.

I am eligible for Medicare

Considering a Medicare Advantage plan? Click below or contact your current broker or licensed insurance agent for more information.

Dignity Health is not a health insurance company. Dignity Health is a provider network of more than 60,000 caregivers and staff who deliver excellent care to diverse communities in hospitals, physician offices, and other types of care centers in 21 states. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California.

Open Enrollment

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If you have a doctor or group of doctors you have been seeing or would like to see, be sure they are in the health plan's network. Always be sure to verify with the insurance plan that your doctor is in-network.

Since health plan and network information may change, we recommend confirming your choice is available in your area by contacting the health plan's customer service number listed on its website.


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