Your health insurance plan offers more than just peace of mind. Even if you’re booking routine medical appointments, you might still be missing out on valuable benefits. Taking full advantage of your health insurance policy is better for your wallet and your body and mind. Here are a few ways to get the most out of health insurance.
Shop Around for Plans
To get started, you’ll want to find a plan that’s within your budget and meets your needs. So it pays to shop around. Prepare for the open enrollment period by considering the needs of you and your family.
You might need coverage for certain prescriptions or treatments for a chronic condition, for example. Individuals who are prone to certain dental or vision issues might want to prioritize plans with additional coverage. If you have kids, you should check what coverage is available for them.
It’s possible that your employer only offers a few options for health insurance. Compare the plans regardless. Variations in monthly premiums and scopes of coverage can make all the difference if you have specific medical needs.
Read Your Policy
Once your health insurance plan kicks in for the year, you might be inclined to immediately file it away. However, the fine print of your insurance plan will detail all the benefits. Take the time to read the document so you know what you’re paying for.
As you read through your insurance plan, look for co-pay information. Check for available coverage for care you may not need every year, like specialists or short term prescriptions. Make note of which services are covered in full, and which you might need to pay for out of pocket.
Having an understanding of your health coverage will help you spot discrepancies in your medical bills. Keep your policy on hand to make sure you’re not paying for anything that the insurance company should cover.
Make Preventive Care a Priority
Most health insurance plans cover preventive care services. If you’re skipping your annual checkups, you’re missing out. Preventive care includes services like immunizations, screenings for certain diseases, gynecological visits, and even some prescriptions like birth control. Many other preventive services may be available, so check your plan for the full list.
Remember that preventive care screenings are often age specific. Your health insurance may cover colorectal cancer screenings for adults older than 50, for example. While some people know which appointments they need to make yearly, others aren’t certain which screenings pertain to them.
Your primary care physician can help you navigate preventative care options. Ask which screenings they would recommend for you. Then schedule these checkups to get the most out of your plan.
Take Advantage of Discounts
Health insurance companies often offer reduced fees for wellness-focused services. There might be a discount on a service you already pay for. For example, your insurance company might cut the cost of your gym membership.
Your insurance provider may also offer free programs like health coaching and weight management support. In some cases you can get deductions on non-covered services like chiropractic care and LASIK surgery. Rather than skimping on your wellness to save cash, check if your stress-relieving massage is on their list.
Spend More Than Your Deductible
Most plans require people to pay a deductible before certain services are fully covered. Once you meet your deductible, you can get more out of your plan. This is the time to schedule services that you’d ordinarily have to pay for, at least partially, out of pocket.
Use this opportunity to book a vision exam, see a physical therapist, or schedule a visit to the dermatologist. Of course, you’ll still want to make sure these services are all covered by your insurance. Once you check your plan, start booking those appointments.
Be aware of when, or if, you meet your deductible. You might not hit that number until close to the end of the year. If you do, pack in these appointments before your deductible resets.
Stay in Network
Before scheduling a medical appointment or visiting a hospital, make sure that the facility is in your insurance network. Also double check the insurance provider list that your new physician accepts. Otherwise you might receive a very pricey and unexpected bill.
Health insurance provides peace of mind when the unexpected happens. However, it doesn’t cover everything everywhere. This can be a frustrating hurdle when you’re having a medical emergency. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make sure you visit the right medical provider.
Keep a list of your preferred hospitals for family members. Find out which local 24 hour urgent care clinics take your insurance. Also double check nearby facilities while traveling. In other words, put a plan in place before disaster strikes.
Exhaust all Medication Options
Understanding your plan’s prescription drug coverage can help you save on medications. Whether you need insulin or blood pressure medication, keep tabs on what your insurance covers. It’s possible that switching to a generic brand may save you money.
If your health insurance plan stops covering a prescription, it might be worth switching. Before you jump ship though, appeal to your insurance company. You might be able to get your meds covered after all. This process can be complicated, but it may be worth the ultimate savings.
Add a Health Savings Account
High-deductible health insurance plans (HDHPs) lower your monthly premiums. On the other hand, they can be costly if you need to spend the full deductible. If you have a high price procedure, you’ll lose a lot of money all at once. Fortunately, people with high-deductible plans can qualify for health savings accounts (HSAs).
An HSA is a type of savings account reserved for healthcare expenses. If your employer offers an HDHP, they might also offer an HSA. Depositing money in an HSA reduces your taxable income, and you can access these funds for health care costs. HSAs aren’t right for everyone, but opening an HSA may help you better manage your health expenses. Plus you can get more out of a high-deductible plan.
Whether you buy your own plan or have coverage through an employer, you may be overlooking your insurance perks. Get your money’s worth and take care of yourself at the same time. It’s a win-win. These are some great ways to take advantage of the full spectrum of coverage without breaking the bank.
Insurance plans can be confusing for some. You may be worried that you misunderstood your coverage when you booked a new appointment or picked a gym membership. If you’re confused about your coverage, don’t hesitate to call the insurance company. They’ll explain your plan to you so you can get the most out of your policy.