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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Open enrollment means researching your healthcare options in Missouri

Missouri law allows Medigap enrollees to change Medicare insurance plans at the same coverage level during their anniversary window.
Andrey - stock.adobe.com
Missouri law allows Medigap enrollees to change Medicare insurance plans at the same coverage level during their anniversary window.

Missourians have plenty of choices when it comes to health insurance coverage - and it's time to gear up for making those decisions. For people on Medicare, and who have Medicare Advantage plans, they can make changes to their coverage beginning October 15th. For people with private insurance, the window for changes opens on November 1st. And for employer-sponsored health plans, the dates vary by employer.

Louise Norris, health policy analyst for healthinsurance.org, said it is vital not to let this time slip past without doing some research.

"Not ignore your open enrollment period. Open enrollment is really your chance to sort of fine-tune your coverage," she said. "It's very common to see folks who just ignore it and let their current plan just automatically renew - which obviously you can do, but you might be leaving money on the table."

She added since the expansion of Medicaid, Missourians all have access to health insurance, through Missouri HealthNet. Those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid can receive subsidies to help pay their premiums through healthcare.gov..

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer with UnitedHealthcare, said people will do better research if they understand some basic insurance terminology.

"It starts with learning the language. Things like deductibles, copays, coinsurance, premiums, etc. Be familiar with what those terms are, and what the costs associated with each one is, for the plans that you're offered, or the plans that you're considering," Randall explained.

She suggested two resources that UnitedHealthcare has compiled - an online glossary of terms called "Just Plain Clear" and a companion site, "Medicare Made Clear" for people on Medicare.

The Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.

Born and raised in Canada to an early Pakistani immigrant family, Farah Siddiqi was naturally drawn to the larger purpose of making connections and communicating for public reform. She moved to America in 2000 spending most of her time in California and Massachusetts. She has also had the opportunity to live abroad and travel to over 20 countries.