If you don't have time to read it cover to cover, however, this handy reference guide can help. It breaks down the key terms you'll run into as you navigate open enrollment.
Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket each year before your plan's coverage kicks in and starts paying benefits.
You might have separate deductibles for different services, such as prescription drugs or outpatient care. With family coverage, you may have a family deductible as well as individual deductibles for each person on your plan.
Co-insurance is a percentage you pay for health care services after you've met the deductible.
For example, say you have a $1,000 deductible and 20% co-insurance. You break your arm and need surgery, racking up a $10,000 medical bill in the process.
Your out of pocket costs would include $1,000 for the deductible, plus $2,000 towards the surgery ($10,000 x .20 co-insurance = $2,000). Your insurance company then pays the remaining $8,000.
3. Co-payment (co-pay)
A co-payment is a flat fee you pay when you go to the doctor or pick up a prescription. The amount can vary by service.
For instance, you might have a $15 co-payment for prescription drugs and a $25 co-payment for doctor visits. A different co-payment may apply to lab tests or specialist services.
As a general rule, the lower your monthly premium, the higher your co-payment and vice versa.
Your premium is the amount you pay to keep your health insurance each year. Premiums are typically paid monthly, with your employer taking it straight out of your paycheck.
The higher your premium, the lower your deductible usually is; going with a lower premium means paying less each month, but you'll need more money to cover a higher deductible if you get sick or hurt.
5. Out-of-pocket maximum/limit
Your plan's out-of-pocket limit or maximum caps how much you pay for health care services each year. That's a huge advantage if you experience a serious illness or injury that results in a catastrophic bill. Once you reach the limit of what you're responsible for paying out of pocket, the rest of the cost is passed on to your insurer.
This limit doesn't include your premiums or anything you spend for services that aren't covered by your plan. Out-of-pocket limits are higher for family coverage versus individual coverage.