Open enrollment season for health insurance is here

What to consider when choosing health insurance.

Even if you're beyond being haunted by Halloween, there's something truly scary that starts soon: Open enrollment for health insurance.

Fortunately, experts say there are several ways to keep it from being so frightful.  

A common mistake people make selecting the right health insurance plan is paying too much attention to monthly premiums.

"You could actually end up paying more out of pocket to fill prescriptions or to see your physician, even when you pick seemingly the least expensive plan," says Emory University's Dr. Ken Thorpe.

Dr. Thorpe is a professor of health policy and chairman of the Partnership To Fight Chronic Disease.

His group just conducted a survey, just in time for open enrollment, on Americans' fears about health care and health insurance.

"The scariest part of it is just not knowing where to start comparing these plans," he says.

The partnership's website offers advice on how to pick a plan, and Professor Thorpe suggests you start with a pen and pad.

"You're going to want to compare across the different plan choices you have, whether your hospital is covered, whether your medications are covered, and if they are covered, how much you pay out of pocket," he explains.

Some 93% of insured Americans are covered through either employer-based health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, all of which, Thorpe says, offer incentives and wellness programs to lower health insurance costs.

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