As the annual fall ritual known as open enrollment gets under way, a government employee is faced with the most basic questions about health care: What is quality care and how do I get it?
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which spends $5.2 billion annually on health care for 1.2 million members, has offered some help in finding the answers. This year, the window for open enrollment, in which employees pick their health care provider, is Sept. 17-Oct. 12.
The quality of your health care is largely determined by three things–your health plan’s services, your choice of doctor and your lifestyle.
Quality health care results from an effective partnership between your health plan, your doctors, and you. The best combination of these elements will be different for each person and will depend on your location, your age, your health status, and other factors.
By asking discerning questions of your health plan and doctor, and reviewing available patient satisfaction ratings and effective care measures, you can choose the health plan and doctor that are best for you. Then, by making healthy lifestyle choices–and taking full advantage of the benefits offered by your plan–you can get the quality health care you need.
Information that helps you do just that is available from CalPers at https://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?bc=/eip/self-id-member.jsp.
When each CalPers member makes wise choices that maximize health and minimize illness and disease, that helps us keep health care costs down. If everyone does their part, we can make big strides toward maximizing the value of the CalPERS Health Benefits Program. And, making wise health choices also helps you, because when you are healthy, you can enjoy life to its fullest.
The first element of quality health care is your health plan. As you choose your plan, you will need to consider which features and benefits are most important. You can then review your options and make an educated decision. Following are some of the things you might want to consider when choosing a health plan: