With so much talk about The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” many of us in the sandwich generation are wondering how this law will impact not only the healthcare of ourselves and our children, but also that our of elderly parents.  Most of us are still learning how the changes in government guidelines will impact our coverage but a good rule of thumb, every year, is to familiarize yourself with any changes to your existing healthcare coverage. Given the changes in government mandated healthcare, some of the areas that you should review include:

  1. Coverage of your Primary Care Physician - With some physician’s groups opting out of certain insurance carrier’s plans, check to make sure your physician or practice is still eligible to provide services in your insurance plan network.
  2. Copay - Your copay amount or coverage for specific services may have changed for 2014 so check to make sure you know what you are responsible to pay for each service such as Emergency Care, preventative care and specialty services.  Check to see how urgent care coverage is classified and covered in your plan.
  3. Deductible - Review your deductible to see what may have changed based on the option you chose for 2014.  Check to see if the deductible is per family or if each person covered has to meet a deductible prior to coverage implementation.  This is referred to as a “True Family Deductible,” meaning that if you have one or more dependents enrolled on the plan, you will need to meet the full family deductible before coinsurance applies.
  4. Health Savings Plans and Flexible Spending Accounts - A Health Savings Plan and Flexible Spending Plan allows you to set aside pretax dollars for future medical needs.  These plans can also assist in meeting the deductible if you have one through your employer.
  5. Free Services - Check to see what free services may be available through your insurance carrier such as a 24/7 nurse line or wellness services like stress management, weight management or smoking cessation support.

As individuals in the sandwich generation care for both our children and elderly parents, it becomes increasingly important to be familiar with our current coverage and options particularly while navigating through the changes in the Affordable Care Act.