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It's open enrollment time, so make sure you understand your policy

This is the time of year when most people sign up for health insurance, whether it's through an employer, Medicare (Oct. 15-Dec. 7) or the new health exchange (Nov. 15-Feb. 15).

MedChi, the state medical society, has developed a list of tips for consumers to consider when signing up or re-enrolling in a health plan:

1.     Check to see your doctors are on your plan’s list of in-network providers. Typically seeing a doctor out-of-network is more costly.

2.     Make sure your medications are covered.

3.     Check out new management policies that require, for example, prior authorization for medications and services or step therapy that requires cheaper options first.

4.     Understand your co-pays and deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Estimate what services you may need because the policy with the cheapest monthly premium might not be the cheapest policy after you’re charged a co-pay each time you see your doctor or specialist. Some plans also don’t pay anything or much until you’ve met a deductible.

5.     Read the fine print. If you have questions about policies and rights, ask human resources or the insurance carrier.

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