Magazine article Working Mother

Gotcha Covered, Mom

Magazine article Working Mother

Gotcha Covered, Mom

Article excerpt

Kerstin Spremulli is an expert in shopping for health insurance-and in the headaches that go with it. Like most moms, this 44-year-old mother of two makes the bulk of her family's health-care decisions. On top of that, she shops every year for the best health insurance options to offer the 20 people who work for her temporary employment agency in Cranston, RI. "The choices are confusing and exasperating," she says.

Spremulli is not alone in her struggle to navigate the sea of insurance options. As health-care rates spiral upward, companies large and small are looking to keep costs in check by altering benefit plan designs and shifting more costs onto employees. For moms, that means more time spent slogging through the ever-expanding, costly and confusing health coverage options. Just what is the difference between a PPO and a POS? Should you sign on for add-ons like cancer coverage? How about opting for higher copays to lower your premium? Here's an organized approach to deciphering insurance speak and selecting the best coverage for your family.

1 Create a health-care summary.

To project your future needs, look back at the past year, says Rick Keshishian, vice president of benefits education at Prudential Financial. Make a list of the services your family used (ask your doctor or insurer for a summary). This will clarify your use patterns. Then ask your doctor if you should be anticipating additional treatments, exams or visits in the coming year, and add those to your list.

2 Custom fit your coverage.

Factor in your family's personal preferences. Do you regularly use alternative medical care, such as chiropractic or acupuncture? If you were hospitalized, is there a particular facility you would want to go to? Does your family spend a lot on prescription medications? Consider your family's lifestyle as well. If you're always time-crunched, convenience might top your must-have list. Spremulli, whose kids are 15 and 11, wanted the freedom to choose her doctors rather than going through a primary care physician. "I didn't want to be bothered with getting referrals," she says. "Working moms don't have time to make two or three appointments for the same problem. …

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