How to Make the Most of Health Insurance
A good health insurance plan can offer a lot of benefits and ensure your healthcare expenditure stays at a manageable level—but only if you know how to use it. Many individuals and families are not fully exploiting the benefits of having health insurance and may be paying far more than necessary.
So, what do you need to know when it comes to health insurance? Follow the tips below and you’ll keep costs down and squeeze everything you can from your insurance plan.
Select the best plan for you and your family.
When renewal date comes around each year, don’t just stay with the plan you’ve got, think about your and your family’s needs. What dental and medical care will your family require over the next few years? Do your kids need braces or have you just received a chronic condition diagnosis? Select a plan that covers your unique needs.
Take the time to read your insurance documents in full.
Reading your documents will ensure you have a proper understanding of your plan. Also, be sure to keep any benefits documents close to hand as they will tell you what services cost and your plan’s rules, such as whether you require a referral to access a specialist or whether you must select a primary care physician from within your plan’s network. If you stick to these rules, you will enjoy high-quality healthcare at a substantially reduced cost.
Enlist the help of a billing advocate.
After surgery or a visit to the ER, for example, you may get a big bill that you don’t know what to do with or even understand. In this situation, hiring an advocate to decipher this medical bill for you can be of great help. Tree of Life Advocates’ founder Ruth Linden explains that you will not pay an advocate anything if they review your bill and determine that everything is above board.
However, if a dubious charge or error is identified, you can expect to pay the advocate a third or half of whatever they save you. This may sound like a lot, but a good advocate can save you thousands. If your medical issue is complex and demands extensive and expensive healthcare interventions, an advocate can be of especial value. The value of advocates is such that certain healthcare insurance providers have now started to offer their own network of billing advocates.
Stay within your insurance network.
If you choose to visit hospitals and physicians that are participants within your health insurance network you will pay as little as possible for healthcare. Adria Goldman of New York’s MedWise Insurance Advocacy advises people to check that their and their family members’ doctors are part of their health insurer’s approved network. Moreover, it is a good idea to verify that your family’s physicians are all affiliated with a hospital listed by your insurance policy.
If you go above your deductible, keep going!
Under the majority of insurance plans, after you reach your deductible, you pay substantially less for healthcare above this point. If you’ve reached your deductible this year, this is the time to organize those check-ups you’ve been missing. For example, get your eyes tested and your skin checked and do so for a substantially reduced price.
Save time and money by getting your prescriptions through the mail.
If you are on medication for the long-term, ordering your drugs through your insurer via a mail order subscription service can bring down your costs and be far more convenient. As MedSavvy’s Clinical Pharmacy’ manager Diana Graalum states, by using mail order and opting for 90-day medication supplies, you can reduce associated dispensing fees.
Use programs, benefits and discounts as much as you can.
Some insurance policies give policy-holders access to wellness and health programs, discounts on exercise classes, tracking apps for medications, apps for health records, programs targeted at particular conditions and a range of other extras. Use them! Also, visit your health insurer’s website regularly to see if they have added any new perks.