By: Jay W. Lee, M.D., MPH, director, Health Policy, Family Medicine Residency Program, Long Beach Memorial
Open enrollment will take place over the next few months and can be an overwhelming process. Employers may offer a variety of health plan choices for the coming year: keeping the same plan, changing to new plans or opting to let employees use individual plans.
Regardless of whether people are choosing an employer sponsored plan, a Medicare plan, or a private plan “on or off” the Covered California Exchange, it is a good idea to first review your current plan in order to make informed comparisons with new options. Questions to consider:
- What did and didn’t work this year?
- Do I anticipate any major medical needs for next year, such as surgery, medical equipment, pregnancy, etc.?
- Do I foresee any new medications?
- What care does my plan cover?
- Which hospitals are in my care plan?
- Is my doctor tied to a hospital that I would want to receive care in, if hospitalized?
- Do I have access to specialized pediatric care for my child?
Look for More from Your Health Care Provider
Patients can maximize their plan benefits by looking at what the health care provider has to offer in the way of convenience, services and best practices. Things to look for:
Access to Care:
- Same day appointment availability
- Urgent care access
- 24-hour telephone access to a registered nurse advice line
- Onsite lab and x-ray
- Connectivity to award-winning hospitals
- Fully credentialed specialty physician network
Up-to-Date Technology and Practices:
- Best practice, evidence-based medicine
- An electronic medical record (EMR) system connecting patient, physician, urgent care, hospital and other services
- Email communication with physicians and the office
- Access to medical records and test results
- Electronic transmission of prescriptions to pharmacies
- Specialty nurses to assist and follow patient care whether in the hospital or at home
Even if no plan change is made, having gone through this review process can bring peace of mind by knowing the right health plan was chosen.
When you choose a doctor affiliated with Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long beach and Community Hospital Long Beach, you get access to:
- Quality adult and children’s hospitals with specialties in cancer, heart and orthopedics
- Pediatric specialty care just for kids
- Comprehensive group of hospital, urgent care centers and more
Your decisions during open enrollment determine the course of health care for you and your family. Choosing a health plan and physician associated with hospitals you trust ensures that the unexpected will be covered. Call 800-MEMORIAL for a physician referral.
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