Open Enrollment 101
[We at HicksNewMedia and INFOtainment News are extremely fortunate to have such quality writers and columnists. Here is a multi-part column from one of our new long-term Guest Authors speaking to the importance of being vigilant and aware of all medical and open enrollment elections. She tells a story that takes great courage to document, but one that MUST be told.]
With all the new healthcare changes in the last year we need to be extra vigilant with our company’s healthcare choices. Whether we are single, married, have a family or domestic partner, we need to think ahead with our insurance choices. Personally, I have experience with this subject, but please learn from my mistakes.
Before I made the conscious decision to be a stay-at home mom, my career path was as follows: Software Consultant for HR, Benefits and Payroll. Every year during open enrollment I evaluate our family’s healthcare visits. For 2010, our family of four was relatively healthy. Since the new Administration Healthcare initiative passed in 2010, Healthcare choices for 2011 would definitely be different. Not only did our PPO premium change substantially each biweekly paycheck, but our deductible and out of pocket max would be higher as well. No problem I thought. We are healthy. We just need to be insured for copays and prescriptions. Everything else will be preventative. Thinking ahead, we insured 1 step further. Our family takes out a certain dollar amount pre-tax, (FSA) Flexible Savings Account so we can take care of medical & dental without dipping into savings. For 2011 I told my husband “let’s take out $2,000 in case our 11 year old needs braces”. He agreed.
In January 2011, I had a repeat Mammogram from a July 2010 Mammogram where they found calcification clusters in my left breast. I was told by one of the technicians that I had to speak to the Radiologist and I couldn’t go home yet. Scary thoughts went through my head. All I have ever known at 48 years old was to get dressed after my mammograms and the results would be mailed to my home. However, not this time. I was lead by the technician who did my Mammogram to an office in the back. All alone I sat there & waited for the Dr. He showed me a new calcification cluster had grown and I needed a biopsy to see if it was Atypical.
I was scheduled within a few weeks for a biopsy, and sure enough it came back Atypical which meant a Lumpectomy. Now my head is spinning since I know our healthcare coverage has changed and surgery means a big outlay of money. Emotionally I am a wreck. My husband travels for a living and I take care of our 11 & 9 year old boys. Plus my husband’s mother died of Breast Cancer. Yikes, I’m a healthy 48 year old stay at home mom who has no history of Breast Cancer in my family. I think positively and go through with the Biopsy and Lumpectomy surgeries. Secretly, I know that the results would not be good, which of course is a good thing because I was prepared mentally. Hearing the news you have early stage Breast Cancer and you need 6 weeks of Radiation Therapy is traumatic. I knew I would be ok, but kept thinking how are we going to pay for all of this?