Open enrollment: Insurance terms you need to know

While there is a lot to do this time of year, one thing to add to the list is probably enrolling in a health insurance plan for next year.

We talked with 9Health Expert, Dr. Payal Kohli, about some of the terms you should know and how to decide on the best plan for you.

Premium – Think of this as your monthly bill – the amount you must pay the health insurance company, on-time each month or you may lose coverage. You pay this even if you don’t use healthcare services that month. If you choose a plan with a lower premium, expect to pay more for prescriptions and healthcare services.

Deductible – The amount you pay out of pocket for covered health care services and prescriptions before your insurance plan starts to pay. Health plans can vary on what they count towards the deductible. Plans with lower premiums tend to have higher deductibles. All plans must provide many preventive services and screenings at no charge to you before you met the deductible. Plans may also offer other services with a copayment that do not apply to the deductible.

Copay – A fixed amount ($10, for example) you owe for a prescription or medical visit that is covered under your health plan, usually paid when you receive the service. For most plans, the copay phase of cost-sharing starts right away; the exception is Health Savings Account (HSA) plans for which you have to meet the deductible first. Copays do not count towards your deductible amount, but they DO count towards your out-of-pocket maximum.

Coinsurance – A percentage of costs for a covered healthcare service or medication you pay (30%, for example) after you’ve met your deductible. Let’s say you’ve met your deductible: You pay 30% of a $100 service which is $30. The insurance company pays the rest (70%). The percentage amount varies depending on the level of plan.

Connect for Health Colorado has a helpful glossary of insurance terms to help you understand your coverage choices. Click or tap here for more.

If you choose an insurance plan with a high deductible or expensive copay, one way to save is with screenings from 9Health.

You can get many of the screenings your doctor would order at an affordable price and then bring the results to your next appointment.

Click or tap here to learn more about 9Health screenings through Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers.

9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey.