Is Your Health Insurance Right for You?

SmartChoiceLogo1Last week it was announced that people who signed up for health insurance through the official Marketplace ( will automatically be re-enrolled in the same plan for next year, unless they log in to make a change.

I see that as good news, because it guarantees that no one will just forget to sign up again next year.  Hopefully it will also reduce the “traffic” on the website.

But is re-enrolling in the same plan the best choice for you? 

That will be the key question. Paying attention now will help you be ready when next fall’s enrollment period comes around.  Here are some questions to keep in mind throughout the year:

  1. Am I happy with the doctors and other health providers available in my plan’s network?
  2. How much am I using health care services? (it’s smart to keep track of visits and costs for each family member)
  3. Am I taking advantage of the preventive care which, under most health plans, is available with no co-payments or deductibles?
  4. Have I met my plan’s deductible?
  5. How much have I spent in co-payments or co-insurance?
  6. Have your health care needs changed during the year?

Knowing how much care you needed in 2014 will help you make a smart health insurance choice for 2015.  When choosing between platinum, gold, silver, and bronze plans, you need to balance the costs and benefits:  higher premiums in exchange for lower deductibles and co-pays?  Or will you be better off paying lower premiums, even if the deductible and other out-of-pocket costs are higher?

To help you understand how to use your health insurance, ten helpful new videos, each lasting just one or two minutes, are available at .  They’re available in both English and Spanish!


Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan's goal as a Family Finance program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help people use their money according to THEIR priorities. She provides information and tools, and then encourages folks to focus on what they control: their own decisions about what to do with the money they have.

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