New York members who get insurance through Freelancers Insurance Co. are in the annual open enrollment period right now. Having gone through staff open enrollment myself, I think the New York Times makes a great point about the open enrollment experience, if you can call it that: it's no trip to the zoo, but it's a chance to make sure you're getting the best choice available to you.
"Most people see open enrollment as an intrusion,” Mr. Abbott said. This year, it’s better to view the process as a comparison-shopping challenge — rather than a miserable annoyance — and give it the same attention you would give to selecting a new car or high-definition television.
After reading the Times' tips on how to tackle open enrollment like a champ, I put on my investigative blogger's cap and sleuthed the office to see if the tips will be helpful for our members. Here are my findings, a compendium of world-class-journalism and casual office banter:
Get educated: FIC subscribers will be able to participate in Freelancers Union webinars, check for commonly asked questions on our website (either in Forum "stickies" or on the signed-in membership home), and take advantage of our new webpages to compare plans and read summaries of what's changed in the plans.
Check with your doctor: FIC hasn't changed from the BC/BS network, but it couldn't hurt to call your doc to make sure he/she is still in the network you believe him/her to be in. And would it hurt to call your mother, eh?
Plan your claims: This is genius. I never remember that I spend hundreds a year on contact lenses until, well, I think about it. You can get more advice on this kind of thing in our open enrollment webinars.
Read the fine print: read the changes document for your plan if you're thinking of staying with it for next year, and download the PDFs for each plan to read all the juicy details.
Consider your options: Every company and association makes changes to rates and plans every year. If nothing's working for you, shop around!
And last but not least: write to Congress and say a little prayer to the health reform fairies every night before bed. This outdated employer-based insurance system is cramping our style.