You don’t get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you’re not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace. Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too.
Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefits packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cellphones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015.
“If there’s any year employees should pay attention to their annual enrollment material, this is probably the year,” said Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, which represents large employers.
In other words, don’t blow off the human resources seminars. Ask these questions.
1) Is my doctor still in the network?
Some employers are shifting to plans that look like the HMOs of the 1990s, with limited networks of physicians and hospitals. Provider affiliations change even when companies don’t adopt a “narrow network.”
Insurers publish directories, but the surest way to see if docs or hospitals take your plan is to call and ask.
2) Is my employer changing where I get labs and medications?
For expensive treatments — for diseases such as cancer or multiple sclerosis — some companies are hiring preferred vendors. Getting infusions or prescriptions outside this network could
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