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How to ace open enrollment

By The Health News Team | August 3, 2023
Woman using laptop computer

Open enrollment may not sound like the most exciting time of year — but it can be. Because during annual open enrollment, your employer gives you the option to make choices that can save you money and provide better access to the benefits you earn as an employee.

Your health care benefits are among the most important things to consider. And while the process may seem overwhelming, it’s really about two major decisions: your insurance plan and new primary care doctor.

Here’s how to go through open enrollment like a pro:


Consider your insurance options.

Most employers will provide a choice between two or more insurance plans. Some plans limit access to certain health care systems. If you’d like to get your care from a specific health care company, such as Sharp, which accepts almost all health insurance plans, be sure to choose an insurance option that will allow that.


Find a primary care physician.

Once you know which insurance options are available, you’ll want to find a primary care doctor who meets your needs. Your primary care doctor will be your main point of contact. They will get to know you and your health history and coordinate all your care. On, you can search for a highly rated primary care doctor using filters, such as insurance accepted, doctor’s office location, languages spoken and more.

  • When choosing your primary care doctor, be sure to consider whether you anticipate needing referrals to specialists, such as a heart or cancer doctor. Primary care doctors work within networks of specialists called medical groups. Sharp’s medical groups include Sharp Community, Sharp Rees-Stealy and SharpCare. To be seen by a specific specialist, you’ll need to choose a primary care doctor within their same medical group.

  • Think about whether you’ll need hospital care, such as when delivering a baby. Doctors admit patients to specific hospitals, so you’ll want to find a physician who can admit you to your hospital of choice. You can find Sharp physicians’ hospital affiliations in their profile.


Make your selections.

Once you’ve decided on your insurance plan, let your employer know your choice. You’ll also need to notify your new health plan company of your primary care doctor choice. They will usually ask for the doctor’s National Provider Identifier (NPI) number on your enrollment form. You can find NPI numbers on Sharp’s doctor profiles.

  • After your new insurance plan becomes active, confirm your chosen primary care doctor is listed on the insurance card you receive.

  • You can make an appointment with your new doctor if care is needed. However, if you’ve already notified your insurance company about who your new doctor is, a “meet-and-greet” appointment is generally not required.

That’s it: You’ve aced open enrollment and are ready to use the health care benefits you’ve earned.

Sharp makes it easy to get the care you need. Learn more at

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