This post has been sponsored by Dignity Health. All opinions are my own. Sometimes, there are things that we just don’t talk about. Check out these 5 Things Your Friends Aren’t Telling You About Open Enrollment.
Have you ever avoided doing something for fear of not knowing how it will go? As much as I love shopping in San Francisco, the anxiety of trying on 20 dresses that will fit awkwardly in every nook and curve of my body sometimes keeps me away from my favorite shops. Stress is a primary reason people procrastinate or avoid doing things they want to do. But we don’t have the same luxury of avoiding the things we have to do.
What about making major life decisions about our careers, family or health? It can be overwhelming. For many, making decisions about health insurance during Open Enrollment is no exception! Dignity Health, one of the largest hospital systems in the country, conducted a survey that polled Californians on how they feel about Open Enrollment. The study revealed that nine in ten Latinos (88 percent) find it stressful to research health insurance options during Open Enrollment. And while selecting a health insurance plan for your family is an important task, one in five (20 percent) Latinos spend less than an hour researching their health insurance options during Open Enrollment season. In fact, one in ten (8 percent) California Latinos would rather get a root canal than research health insurance plan options during Open Enrollment. One in five (20 percent) would rather visit the DMV. How can we make life decisions based on one hour of research?
Making decisions about Open Enrollment doesn’t have to be stressful. Friends and family might be quick to share how frustrating it is, but it’s actually an exciting time that can result in peace of mind for you and your family. Here are five things your friends aren’t telling you about Open Enrollment!
1. Learning about Open Enrollment is easy.
There is an infinite amount of information available about Open Enrollment out there. That means it’s easy to access. It can be a little overwhelming though, I know. Dignity Health is a multi-state network (primarily in California, Arizona and Nevada) of 10,000 physicians, more than 60,000 employees, 39 acute care hospitals and 400-plus care-centers including neighborhood hospitals, urgent care, surgery and imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Dignity Health understands that human connection is the foundation for healing. They believe that everyone deserves expert medical care that is kind, compassionate, and heart-centered.
When we’re trying to make decisions about things that stress us out, we have a natural tendency to turn to friends and family to gather their opinions too. More than half (55 percent) of California Latinos say they help others outside of their immediate family make health care decisions, including friends.
2. When making decisions about Open Enrollment, choose your provider first.
If you’re new here, you might not know that I have a set of boy/boy/girl triplets. They’ll be turning 9 in January! I’ve shared a lot about them over the years, including that they all have Autism and two of them have Epilepsy. As micro-preemies, the hospital was their first home. Every day was a new learning curve. They had so many doctors and specialists on their medical team. Really, it felt like these tiny beings had their own army of people whose entire job was to keep them alive. The professionals and medical staff that have helped me raise my tiny micro-preemies into thriving young children mean the world to me. I trust them with my children’s care. That’s everything!
More than seven in ten (73 percent) Latinos value the emotional connection with their doctor, meaning selecting a physician or clinic goes beyond providing medical care. More specifically, 38 percent said they want a healthcare provider who cares about their overall well-being and 35 percent said they want a healthcare provider who listens to them, is engaged when they talk and is a clear communicator. Not surprisingly, nearly nine in ten (85.5 percent) Latinos have a preferred doctor or clinic they like to visit when they need medical care. However, more than half (55 percent) of Latinos choose their health insurance plan first, and the doctors and clinics second, based on who’s in their network.
Over the years, I’ve become sort of an expert advocate for my children. I learned how to navigate bureaucratic systems, engage with expert medical professionals, and take a leading role in the decision-making process for the care my children received. That part was hard, but it got easier. Looking back, I recognize so many things that made the process so much easier. For example, having the doctors my children needed in our network. And providers with great customer service, medical expertise, convenient locations and lots of proactive educational support. I’m truly grateful for that! Once you choose your providers, it’s easy to find a plan that includes them!
3. Open Enrollment is the one time of year you can change your medical insurance plan simply because you feel like it, without the requirement of a “qualifying event”.
I can’t tell you how many times friends and family have told me they wished they could change their medical plan and/or provider. Open Enrollment is the time to do that. Take advantage of the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE what is right for you and your family. From barely surviving to bigger than life, look at my babies, now!
4. Open Enrollment is for everyone.
Whether you already have an existing plan or are ready to get a new one, anyone can take advantage of Open Enrollment.
5. You don’t have to worry about preexisting conditions.
So many people worry that a plan or network will deny them if they have a preexisting condition. Employer-sponsored plans cannot do that! So, go ahead, and make that change to get the care you need and deserve!
In the Latino community, love of family is often the driving force behind so many life decisions. We just want what’s best for the people we love. Whether that means working long hours, staying at home, becoming a caregiver or just offering input to help our loved ones make the best decisions possible. Discussing our health plan options during Open Enrollment is one of many ways to help give our family everything they deserve.
This Open Enrollment season, choose a plan that affords you quality health care from physicians who care. I love you guys, and I want you to get the care you deserve! What do you value most in a medical provider? Share in the comments!
By: Alicia Gonzalez
Also published on Medium.