Are you prepared for the unexpected? How to handle gaps in health insurance coverage

October 15, 2018 | By Robert Grubka | CNBC StraightTalk

  • Open enrollment for employer benefits begins at many companies each fall.
  • This period is a good time to consider additional benefits to help cover the gaps in health insurance coverage.
  • Consider factors such as costs and your age, familiarize yourself with the rules of the coverage you’re considering, and avail yourself of all the tools your employer provides.
  • Many companies in the next few weeks will offer employees a chance to review and enroll in workplace benefits for the following year. During this open-enrollment period, many people focus on their health insurance, which makes perfect sense.

    Insurance offers financial backing for annual wellness doctor visits or visits to the hospital if you get sick or injured. Some employers might also offer additional benefits that can help cover some of the unexpected costs not covered under a specific health insurance plan.

    The financial impact from uncovered health-care expenses can be a shock and even affect a person’s financial wellness. But there are ways to alleviate the stress.

    Anyone can be injured or become sick unexpectedly. Accidents, sports injuries and diagnoses of serious illnesses are common, and the costs can add up. An average family has more than $4,500 in out-of-pocket medical costs each year, according to 2017 Milliman’s Medical Index.

    Many people can’t absorb that cost. A recent study by the Urban Institute found that 4 in 10 Americans are struggling to pay for basic needs, such as groceries or housing. Unexpected costs can compound that and also derail retirement planning.

    Your company’s annual benefits open-enrollment period is a good time to consider additional benefits to help you cover the gaps in health insurance coverage.

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