How to Talk to Loved Ones About Healthcare Coverage

Taylar Kobylas

| 3 min read

Healthcare coverage is a hot topic for 2015, and if your family or friends aren’t enrolled yet, it might be time to have a sit-down together. Even though the holidays are over, there’s still time to help the people you care about get the coverage they need. Here are five topics to ease your loved ones into the conversation:
  1. Look at your calendar: Do you know the upcoming deadlines? January 1, 2015 marked the end of 2014 coverage, and February 15 is the last day to enroll for 2015. If you opt not to enroll, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period to sign up for 2016 coverage, unless you experience a qualifying event such as a change in income or move to a different state. Remember, the penalty for not purchasing insurance has also gone up to $325, or 2 percent of your household income, whichever amount is greater. There are definitely financial risks to not enrolling in a plan. Will you save more or less in the long run?
  2. Put things into perspective: Are you taking better care of your car than your health?Are you spending more at the mall more than you are on the marketplace? Discussing these scenarios may help your loved ones realize how valuable healthcare coverage truly is, or how it relates to their current spending habits.
  3. Talk dollars and sense: What is your financial aid status? Checking on this is easier than you may think. If your income changed in the past year, your eligible subsidy or tax credit may have also. Check your aid eligibility or discuss options with a health plan advisor by calling 1-855-237-3501 or visiting a BCBSM customer walk-in center. You can also text "4Subsidy" to 222-752 to check your subsidy status.
  4. Ask the big questions: What plans does your primary care doctor accept? Which hospitals and doctors are in the plan's provider network? Even if you're happy with your current coverage, it can't hurt to shop around. Many insurers have increased their offerings for 2015. BCBSM's plan options have more than doubled from 18 choices in 2014 to 41 choices in 2015. Knowing what is available can help you be more confident you're choosing the right plan.
  5. Test their knowledge: What's the difference between an HMO and a PPO? What costs make up a health plan? If your family and friends can answer the tough stuff, they're likely well prepared for what to expect in the next few months.
Still stumped on how to talk to your loved ones about this topic? Here are some easy ways to discuss healthcare with:
Photo credit: Andrew Fecheyr
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association