Your health insurance plan does more than just protect your family’s health. It also protects your budget, by helping you manage expenses. But there are several ways to wring a bit more value from your plan…
Make sure you have the right plan. You wouldn’t use the wrong tools to accomplish a particular task, so why use the wrong health insurance plan to protect yourself and loved ones? It’s tempting to automatically re-enroll in your current plan each year, because it’s one less task to tackle. But really, you should be re-evaluating your family’s needs each year, and comparing those needs to your plan’s provisions.
Understand your plan. Upon enrollment, your health insurance company will send you a packet of information. Take the time to review this information, and hang onto it for later reference.
If you’ve met your deductible, take advantage. If, and when, you meet your deductible for the year, go ahead and schedule other screenings or procedures that you might have postponed earlier. You’ll be getting them at reduced cost now.
Use in-network providers whenever possible. Before utilizing any medical facility or doctor, check with your insurance company to be sure they’re in-network. Only use out-of-network providers when absolutely necessary.
Try mail-order prescription services. Check with your insurance provider to see if they cover mail-order prescription services. You can save money by ordering a 90-day supply of your prescriptions, rather than standing in line at a local pharmacy each month.
Consult with a medical billing advocate. Hospitals can, and do, make errors in billing. Sometimes those errors amount to thousands of dollars! When you encounter high out-of-pocket costs, consult with a medical billing advocate. Consultation is usually free, if your bill turns out to be correct. If the advocate succeeds in reducing your bill, their fee is usually about one-third to one-half of the amount saved. Your insurance company might even offer this advocacy service.
Stay in touch. Health insurance companies sometimes add special services and perks to their roster of offerings. Read any emails or snail mail they send you, and check their website frequently for updates on free screenings, wellness programs, handy apps, and more.