Tips and advice to help you through health insurance open enrollment season

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DENVER -- It is open enrollment season, which means time is running out to choose a health care plan. The selection process can be daunting but research shows some guidance can be beneficial.

“It can be very misleading an confusing,” added John Bartleson. He’s an insurance broker with Health Benefits Connect in Denver. He has been working in the insurance business for almost a decade so when it comes to choosing his healthcare plan, it’s an easy task for him.

But for the average person, shopping around for a plan can be intimidating. “Especially when you are dealing with families and small children.”

Bartleson said avoiding the whole process can cost an individual big. The penalty for not having health insurance has nearly doubled next year. A person without health insurance will be fined  $695 or 2.5 percent of the household income, whichever is greater.

Bartleson’s job is to guide people through selecting the best healthcare plan for them. While there is no one size fits all approach, he says there are three factors every person should consider. The first one is health history.

“Do they have any ongoing conditions? Are they taking medications? Are they living an active lifestyle?” Bartleson said this helps zero in on potential claims and the kind of coverage you need.

The second is cost. Bartleson said people need to do the math.

“It’s something that you add up the monthly premiums over the course of the year,” Bartleson said. He says then there are factors to help one calculate the unknowns.

“Last year is not always perfect but it’s going to be a good indicator on what’s going to happen this year.”

Information like if one reached their deductible or if he or she visited a specialist every so often, all to reach the total cost of each plans one is considering.

The third is just as important and often overlooked according Bartleson and that’s for an individual to consider his or her current doctors.

“Because of the new changes with the healthcare law, doctor networks have been reshuffled quite a bit and continued to be reshuffled,” Bartleson said. “Make sure if you have a doctor that you need, that the plan you are looking includes that doctor.”

For individuals who might want one-on-one help, there is a free event on Nov. 7 at the Doctors Care (609 W. Littleton Blvd.) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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