The 3 Healthcare Questions to Ask… Your Employer

Cropped SingleCare logo By | May 23, 2016

We don’t think we have ALL the answers at SingleCare, but we do have the best questions. Here’s what to ask your employer about your healthcare.

Maybe it’s your first day, you’re nervously signing paperwork and trying to memorize names, or it’s been 6 months since you auto-elected the basic health insurance plan and haven’t thought about it since. You’re not alone. In fact, forty-percent of employees don’t understand their benefit options, which include healthcare plans to 401(k) contributions. As health premiums are expected to rise for employer-sponsored plans in 2016, it’s more important than ever to ask the right questions of your employer. Remember, benefit offerings can make up as much as 40% of your compensation package, so you should understand how to choose and best utilize your company’s offerings.

It can be hard to know where to start the conversation, so here are 3 questions to ask HR about your health insurance offerings:

What does X mean?

Don’t be afraid to start off with the basics: there’s no stupid questions when it comes to your health! If you’re confused about the meaning of terms like premium or deductible, be sure to ask. Also keep an eye out for an informational or training sessions: most companies offer informative walkthroughs of your benefits that may even pre-empt many of the questions you have.

Your HR department is there to help you continue being a healthy human and is always a resource for any questions or concerns you may have—makes sense, right? Your benefits are part of your compensation even if they don’t show up in your bank account, so make every effort to understand them the best you can.

What are the different levels of coverage offered?

Often, there will be various levels of coverage offered by your employer, each with slightly different scopes of coverage. If your employer offers the option to buy-up, consider upgrading. It may cost a few more dollars each month, but the plan may have better coverage for you and could save you more in the long run.

For example, an Anthem PPO $30 copay plan could be the standard offering from your employer. However, your favorite physician is now out-of-network and you’re unwilling to switch. With this plan you’ll be responsible for 40% of the cost for an office visit. However, with the buy-up plan, you would only pay 30% of that total cost. Consider all of your options, the standard one might not be the best fit.

Patient information form.
[Image credit: Marjan_Apostolovic]

Where is the web portal, or where can I find the information online?

Make sure to ask about web portals and tools that can help answer any questions you might have down the road. Approximately half of large and mid-sized companies offer these tools, which not only provide quick and easy access to information, but are also accessible from anywhere at anytime, meaning you won’t be reliant on HR to address every question. Need to find an in-network doctor? Chances are your web portal can help you. Knowing what digital resources are available to you and how to use them may come through to help you in a bind.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just three questions! Your HR reps are the experts, treat them as such. Your employer wants you to be healthy and informed, and they want to make sure you have the tools necessary to make informed choices. Be transparent with HR about your healthcare needs, so they can help you make the best decisions.

Once you finish all of that paperwork, take a second to sign up for SingleCare’s free network. SingleCare gives you access to trusted doctors and keeps pricing transparent and affordable if your current insurance doesn’t offer a comprehensive enough plan for your needs.

[Main Image credit: shironosov]