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Friday, November 21, 2014

Big Changes For 2015 Workplace Plans: Watch Out For These Six Possible Pitfalls

Today's post was shared by Kaiser Health News and comes from

You don’t get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you’re not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace. Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too.
Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefit packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cell phones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015.
“If there’s any year employees should pay attention to their annual enrollment material, this is probably the year,” said Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, which represents large employers.
In other words, don’t blow off the human resources seminars. Ask these questions.

Illustration by Andrew Villegas/KHN
Illustration by Andrew Villegas/KHN

1. Is my doctor still in the network?
Some employers are shifting to plans that look like the HMOs of the 1990s, with limited networks of physicians and hospitals. Provider affiliations change even when companies don’t adopt a “narrow network.”
Insurers publish directories, but the surest way to see if docs or hospitals take your plan is to call and ask.
“People tend to find out the hard way how their health plan works,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Don’t take for granted that everything will be the same as last year.” (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the...
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