Will Your Healthcare Plan Be There for You When You Need It Most?

This post is sponsored by United Healthcare. Content and opinions are my own.
How to choose the right healthcare plan title image

When I dialed 9-1-1 on January 23, 2015, my healthcare plan was the farthest thing from my mind.

I needed to get my daughter to the hospital, and I needed to get her there FAST!

I did not know on that day that eight months later we’d be facing more than $100,000 in medical bills.

Nor did I know that I’d be grateful for the company that was cutting my husband’s salary by twenty three percent in March of 2015.

This year was for us, the year most of us never plan for yet the one we should all plan for when it comes to health insurance.

My family is generally healthy and not in need of much medical care outside of regular check ups and the occasional virus…  Oh wait…  We’ve made so many visits to the ER that the nurses and doctors almost know us by name.  Oh yes those ER visits can add up real fast!  Thankfully we are covered.  My husband works for a major healthcare provider, and though I’ve grumbled far too many times about his reduction in salary I cannot tell you how thankful I am that we have the health care coverage we do!

Our healthcare plan isn’t perfect — Cris works for a PPO so we are limited to doctors and service offered by the company.  If I want to see a chiropractor or acupuncturist, I’m on pretty much on my own.  The same goes for getting a thermography breast exam instead of a mammogram.  On the other hand cat scans, MRI’s, and other costly exams are all covered and let me tell you, with my family, that is a really good thing!

And when it comes to emergencies my healthcare plan is truly unbeatable!

Let’s face it no healthcare plan is perfect and that’s why it’s important for you to take the time to pick the one that is best for YOU and your family.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Healthcare Plan

With the month of November we enter into “Open Enrollment” season — the time to research and commit to a healthcare plan for the coming year. For most of us that also means massive headaches as we try to make sense of all the options offered.  Here are 5 things that will make choosing the right insurance a little easier:

Who will be covered by your healthcare plan?

Healthcare plans come in all shapes and sizes to meet the specific needs of individuals and families alike. Your starting point when researching plans will be to determine who will be covered under the plan.  Did you know that the Affordable Care Act requires health plans and issuers that offer dependent coverage to make the coverage available until a child reaches the age of 26?  Even if your young adult is married she still qualifies.   I know that’s a relief for parents and young adults alike. Make sure you know the specifics of that coverage though so you have no surprises if ever an emergency should arise. My oldest daughter is eighteen and a college freshman… in Canada! Though she is covered  under our current plan we’d have to pay everything out of pocket upfront then submit our bills for reimbursement and wait patiently. So she has her own Canadian plan as well.

What is your general health?

Are the members in your family generally in good health and seldom in need of medical care?  Does anyone in the family suffer from a chronic medical condition?  Are you or your children prone to frequent illnesses?  The cost of a visit to the doctor will change drastically depending on your specific coverage. I suggest you take a look at the last three or four years to see what the average number of visits is for your family in a year.

What type of care do you prefer?

The best kind of medicine for me is Integrated or Complimentary medicine — I lean mostly on natural and preventive care but will turn to traditional or allopathic care when needed.  I avoid chemical medications unless absolutely necessary and favor homeopathic and other natural remedies such as essential oils instead.  That is where my current health plan is extremely limited. Most of the services covered fall under the umbrella of traditional Western medicine. And though there has been a significant increase in the coverage of non-traditional services such as acupuncture and chiropractic care, these options are still far too limited to suit my personal needs.  If I want to get a thermography breast exam instead of a mammogram for example, that will be at my own expense.

Do you take regular medication?

For years I relied on a very expensive medication to tame my migraines when they became unbearable.  Without my coverage those meds would have been unaffordable and I would have most likely lost far more work days and been much more of an absentee mom than I ever would have wanted. Thank goodness I never had to be without.  If you use medications on a regular basis you definitely want to make sure your plan offers the best medications coverage possible.  Without it you could be spending a fortune!!!

What kind of Emergency Coverage is included in your healthcare plan?

Whether you have children or not, aging parents or not, please make sure you choose a plan with really good emergency coverage. Time and again I’ve heard horror stories of families facing an overwhelming debt, or worse, loosing their home because of a medical emergency. Emergencies can happen at any time, anywhere. Trust me I know this all too well. And that is where my healthcare plan really shines! I can’t even imagine what this past year would have been like if we did not have the coverage we do and thankfully I never will have to.

This is the time for you to take a little time and make sure you are covered the way you need to be.

To take some of the stress out of choosing the right healthcare plan I’ve partnered with United Healthcare to bring you three fun dares.

United Healthcare November Dares graphic

Go to wedareyoutoshare to test your health smarts or watch an informative video and enter to win one of two $400 gift cards.

How about a game of “Concentration” for a chance to win a fabulous Ninja Blender, the perfect tool for preparing healthy meals. 🙂

Enter as often as every day and you also qualify for weekly prizes of a $25 Gift card 🙂

I wish you all the best with the United Healthcare November dares, but more than anything I wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season!!

What is the most important to you and your family when it comes to healthcare? 


  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    We don;t have many options unfortunately. My husband is a federal employee and we don’t get many choices.

    • I understand how that feels Robin as we have our coverage through my husband’s hospital. I would expect federal employees not to be have a good selection of options though. Do you feel the options you have are good ones at least?

  2. There’s so much to consider with this, and I guess it’s time I looked it all over again and did so. It can be overwhelming, but it’s important to choose carefully.

  3. We make sure that our kids have a good pediatrician. We rarely go to the doctor unless really needed, but kids go once a year unless needed more for sickness or something.

  4. United HealthCare is our provider. We just changed a few things, though, so I need to double check our emergency coverage. Thanks for the tips!!

  5. alicia szemon says:

    i am on my mothers health care plan now but i will have to consider what i will do when i am not on hers

  6. We have been lucky that all the doctors we want are on our plan but I know others who are super limited. Thanks for the info.

  7. These are good questions to think of before choosing. It’s a huge decision!

  8. it also helps to know what your favorite doctors accept

  9. That sounds like a terrible process of medical bills. I’m in open enrollment now and just spent all morning on the phone deciphering costs of prescriptions…
    I think that sounds like a really fun game – I’ll play to win, any day!

  10. Oh my goodness! That’s quite a hefty bill. We have had a few years with pretty high bills, and I wonder if we should be paying more monthly for even better coverage. I doubt the kids will stop breaking bones & getting sick any time soon.

  11. Thank you for sharing these tips. I mainly use mine for basic health care and mental health care visits and Chris picks the plans usually.

  12. Healthcare is so important, these are great tips.

  13. Unfortunately we don’t have healthcare right now {we don’t have any affordable options} and it definitely worries me! I used to have UnitedHealthcare though and I absolutely loved them. They always took the extra step to make me feel like they cared.

  14. Molli vandehey says:

    i wish i had a choice on my health plan. im on medicare and it fails miserably

  15. Interesting information for USA people.

  16. bunny butt says:

    been meaning to change out insurance

  17. Some great tips here! Thanks!! 😀

  18. Brittany gaskill says:

    Great info!

  19. Farrah King says:

    Working as a receptionist in a doctor’s office for 17 years has really helped me understand medical insurance and how to pick the best plan. They key to choosing is always ALWAYS make sure if you have an HMO plan that you find one in your area and use it. If you can choose any doctor, most plans will be more expensive, but will pay out better and you will just have a higher copay. It all depends on if the person goes to the doctor frequently or not frequent enough!

  20. peace of mind is priceless especially when it comes to the health of your family and good health care is priceless too

  21. I’m in Canada, so I know that I’m covered.

  22. Betsy Rubendall Barnes says:

    Emergency coverage is most important to my family. We want to be covered and prepared for everything 🙂

  23. The most important thing for our family is that we can see the doctors we want to see. We’ve had the same health insurance provider for over 25 years and been very happy. If there’s ever a problem, I’ve always gotten excellent customer service.

    • You are so blessed Cindy! Yes seeing the doctors you trust and develop a relationship with is so important! I love my primary care doctor and love that she now cares for my daughters as well since they have outgrown their pediatrician.

  24. I hope that my plan will be there when I need it. Thanks for letting us know what to look for.

  25. Lynn Desroche says:

    These are all excellent tips. Thank you!

  26. I appreciate this. I have been looking into different health care plans.

  27. We have OHIP in Ontario,Canada.The medical insurances here are a rip off.You get sick and they do NOTHING for you!

  28. Richard Hicks says:

    Very useful info here. It can be so confusing making the right choice. Seems like all plans have deductibles that are too much.

    • There are so many options Richard that it’s important to take your time and make sure you know what YOU need before you start looking at plans so you have a clear set of guidelines as you compare and contrast what is available to you.

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