Many health plans now offer financial incentives that reward you for taking healthier actions, such as completing a health survey, exercising or avoiding nicotine. (Pikrepo)
November 9, 2020
LINCOLN, Neb. — Now that Nebraskans have cast their vote in the 2020 elections, there is another important decision to make: choosing health coverage for 2021.
Rob Broomfield, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Nebraska, said it’s important to start researching plans early, take your time and ask questions.
If you’re planning to have a baby, or a family member has diabetes, Broomfield noted choosing a plan with lower monthly premiums could actually end up costing you far more once you’ve reached your maximum out-of-pocket liability.
“So you really kind of have to estimate what you think your medical expenses might look like,” Broomfield suggested. “And then just determine whether it’s worth paying a little bit higher premium because you know you may have more out-of-pocket costs.”
Many employers set aside a two- to three-week period between September and December for employees to select a health plan.
Families that don’t get employer-linked insurance can sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act at HealthCare.gov through Dec. 15.
More Nebraskans should also qualify for financial assistance, or free coverage, after last month’s rollout of Medicaid expansion. Medicare’s annual enrollment is open now through Dec. 7.
Broomfield said telehealth coverage will continue to be important during the coronavirus pandemic, and beyond.
During some months, he observed, north of 90% of visits were conducted via telehealth, where people connect with a health-care provider via smartphone, tablet or personal computer.
“So moving forward it’s going to be a very important part of the plan,” Broomfield emphasized. “And people are going to want to make sure that they have the telehealth visits available in their plan, and that the doctors they want to access are available as well.”
Broomfield said one way to lower the cost of coverage is to take advantage of wellness rewards that kick in if you take a health survey, exercise or stop smoking.
Some plans also offer gym memberships at no additional cost.