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Open Enrollment Time means a look into new products, benefits, rates for 2017

The Open Enrollment period is an important decision groups and individuals make once-a-year.  With the variety of choices available directly from health plans or through the New York State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace, this time of year can be challenging for decision makers.  

Because open enrollment occurs only once a year,  it is important to consider all options and coverage needs when shopping for health insurance.  While price is always top of mind when considering coverage, value is very important. Here are some tips to make a value-based decision:  

• Assess a plan's track record for improving quality of care; whether the plan is for-profit or not-for-profit; the plan's relationship with physicians and providers; and level of collaboration with physicians and providers. 

• Consider the provider network when looking into coverage. Some plans may not include all of your health care providers or may charge higher costs at certain hospitals. On the other hand, some plans offer narrow network products, so it is important to consider the strength of the network. 

• Making sure your health insurance company has great customer service can mean the different between getting the care you need, when and where you need it. National rankings, such as those by J.D. Power and Associates and the National Committee for Quality Assurance annually rank health plans accordingly to various measures, such as quality, service and satisfaction.  

• Wellness programs help employees and their families stay healthy or kick-start their path to a healthier lifestyle. For example, Independent Health will once again offer FitWorks Rewards in its small group and individual plans, in order to provide subscribers and their spouses/domestic partners with incentives for completing a variety of clinical and activity-based challenges through the online wellness program. Wellness programs can help people maintain their healthy or motivate them to make healthy changes.

• Other value-added benefits, in addition to the medical coverage, promote healthy living and convenience in getting care.  Fitness allowances, telemedicine, and programs that encourage better nutrition are all added features that some plans offer to their members.  

You don't have to go through the process of selecting a new plan alone. There are several resources available such as meeting with a health insurance broker and calling a plan directly. The Independent Health Sales Department is available to answer any questions about selecting health coverage options for you or your employees or visit


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