Profitt Report: Don't ignore this healthcare open enrollment period, check on your plan

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lot of people hear the words “open enrollment” and their eyes gloss over. It’s not the most exciting way to spend money, especially with the holidays coming up, but you have the potential to save thousands of dollars next year if you make the right moves this enrollment period.

An average plan for a family of four costs more than $28,000 this year, including both employee and employer contributions, according to the Millman Medical Index.

“Folks spend more time shopping for a TV than they do their healthcare benefits and that's a proven fact,” said Mike DiLorenzo, vice president of Michigan Planners.

He walks us through a few potentially money-saving tweaks you can make this open enrollment period.

“Whether they're single, couple or family, if they really look at the math, the tax advantages that the HSA (health savings account) provides to them, it's going to be the best long-term solution for them,” DiLorenzo said.

When you put money into a HAS, you don’t pay any taxes on it. If you invest in your HSA, that money isn’t taxable either.

“Then when you use your HSA dollars for medical dental or vision expenses it's all nontaxable again,” DiLorenzo said.

However, to have an HSA, you typically need a high deductible health plan, meaning your monthly premiums will be lower but the amount you pay upfront for care is higher. Generally, this is a better choice for healthy people who don’t need much medical care.

Whereas a low-deductible plan is often better for people with chronic conditions, upcoming surgeries or a pregnancy.

“No matter how high your deductible, how high your office copays are, all your routine physical exams, your pap smear, mammograms, colonoscopies are covered at 100 percent so that is something folks should definitely take advantage of,” DiLorenzo said.

Also, check out new healthcare technology. You can now have a virtual appointment with your doctor and in many cases, they can diagnose minor problems without you leaving home. These digital appointments are often less expensive than an in-office visit.

The Profitt Report wants to hear from you - please send consumer questions and story ideas to ProfittReport@WSMH.com

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