Top 5 things to know about health insurance renewals
Maybe you’ve had big changes in your life in the last year and your health care plan needs some tweaks. Getting your renewal notice in the mail is a good time to take a closer look at your coverage and premiums.
This fall, if you have individual health insurance, you’re going to get a big packet from your insurance company called your “renewal notice”. It’s really important to open it and read through it. It has key information about your health insurance for next year.
Here are 5 things to know about your renewal notice.
1. It’s like an annual checkup for your health insurance plan.
This is your chance to review your current benefits, the amount you pay each month for health insurance (your premium) and the list of doctors you can see for care (your network). Think about the past year and if your benefits and coverage are working for you.
2. There’s specific things you’ll need to review.
Your renewal notice has information about how your plan will work for the upcoming year. It may be different than how your plan worked this year. Review things like:
- Your premium – the amount you have to pay each month for your health insurance
- Your deductible - the amount you have to pay before your health insurance starts helping
- Your copay or coinsurance - how much you’ll owe after you meet your deductible
- Your out-of-pocket max – or the most you’ll have to pay for covered health care services
- Your network - the list of doctors, pharmacies and clinics that your plan will cover
Related content: Co-what? Copays, coinsurance, & other common health insurance terms
3. You might have benefits you don’t know about.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of benefits that can save you money:
- Any gym discounts your plan offers
- Savings on weight loss programs
- Covered annual physical exams
- Discounts on eyeglasses and contact lenses
4. You’ll have to make a decision about next year.
If you’re happy with your plan renewal and it’s working for you, follow the instructions from your insurance company to renew. You may not need to do anything, and in that case, you’ll automatically be renewed into your plan for next year. If you do want to change plans or shop around for a different one, there’s a couple of things you can do:
- Call your broker. He or she can talk through your needs and discuss other plan options with you
- Call the sales office of your health insurance company. Their phone number will be provided in the renewal notice. They can help you find a different plan that might work better for you
If you enrolled through Minnesota’s Health Insurance Exchange, MNsure, be on the lookout for a renewal notice from them. If you qualified for a tax credit this year, pay special attention to see if you’re still eligible for a credit, or if your tax credit has changed since last year.
5. You have to enroll in a new plan by a certain time.
You'll be able to enroll in a new plan during open enrollment, which starts Nov. 1 and ends on Jan. 31. You have to enroll by the 15th of the month prior to the first of the month you want to start your insurance coverage. For example, enroll by Dec. 15 for an effective date of Jan. 1. If you delay insurance enrollment, it can delay the start date of your plan.
Hold on to your renewal notice in a safe place. It contains all the information you need to know about your plan and might be helpful when questions come up throughout the year.
If you have any questions about your notice, call your health plan’s member services number. It’s on the back of your current member ID card. They can answer questions and are more than happy to help.
Sara Wagner is a Manager of Medicare & Individual Sales at HealthPartners. She’s been with the team for 15 years with close to 30 years of sales, service, and management experience all within the health insurance industry. We’re grateful to have her extensive expertise on the HealthPartners Health Insurance Help blog.In her free time, Sara enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.