By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Maybe you’ve seen the notifications in your office – it’s that time of year for open enrollment.

Some companies have already started the process for people to make changes to their benefits for 2018, but if you plan to sign up using the health care exchange website, open enrollment is about to kick off.

Today’s “Lauren’s List” has a few tips to help make the open enrollment process easier.

Know Your Dates
Some businesses have already opened up the enrollment period. Check with your HR department if you’re not sure. The Open Enrollment Period for starts this Wednesday, November 1st and runs to December 15th. For Medicare patients, that period opened up on October 15th and closes on December 7th. Enrollment in Medicaid or CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, runs year-round.

Know Your Options
I know my plan has changed a little bit for next year. So I had a decision to make. Stick with what I had, or try a different plan that may better suit my family’s needs. Do the research, and don’t just assume if you don’t change anything that your plan will look the same come next year.

Make Sure Your Doctors Are Still In-Network
Dr. Mayrene Hernandez of UnitedHealthcare says even if you don’t make any changes to your health insurance this year, it’s still a good idea to ensure that any doctor you see regularly – or plan to visit in the coming year – is in your benefit plan’s care provider network. If you plan to visit a doctor or hospital outside of the network, the cost will most likely be higher.

Check Wellness Programs
Many companies offer discounts if you participate in wellness programs or complete certain health assessments. Be familiar with what you need to do to take advantage of the greatest savings.

More than 70 percent of Americans say they are prepared for open enrollment, yet most people struggle to understand basic health insurance adjuster terms, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey.

Are you ready?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter. If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to


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