Most health care coverage plans offer you resources, tools and even access to discount programs for health-related services and products. For example, some plans offer weight loss or smoking cessation programs. Here you’ll find some helpful tips for making your health care coverage plan work for you.
- Stay in your network of providers. Most health plans have negotiated discounts with doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals within their network. That usually translates into lower out-of-pocket costs to you. Contact your health care company to find a nearby doctor in your network.
- Use the Emergency Room (ER) for emergencies only. Real emergencies warrant a trip to the closest ER. However, you can usually save money by scheduling a visit to your doctor for colds, minor sprains and other less serious conditions or by visiting an urgent care center.
- Use generic drugs. Generic drugs are the most affordable drugs and offer you the lowest available copay. Generic drugs are as safe and effective as brand-name drugs and cost less.
- Use freestanding medical service facilities. You can generally lower medical expenses by scheduling laboratory work, imaging and other outpatient services at freestanding medical service facilities instead of a full-service or general acute care hospital. Freestanding medical offices are not attached to a hospital and are operated individually. Make sure to check with your health insurance company before using a freestanding medical or emergency facility to ensure they are in-network and will cover your medical services.
- Double-check your coverage. Make sure services or treatments are covered before you schedule your next visit. Use the customer service phone number on the back of your medical identification card or visit your insurance company’s website to find out more about your coverage.
- Stay healthy. Do your best to eat right, exercise and get regular health screenings. Encourage all family members to live a healthy lifestyle too.
- Conduct an “annual check-up” of your health care plan. Make sure your health care plan still meets your needs. This is especially important if you’ve experienced any significant life-changing events in the past year, including the birth of a child, the removal of an adult child from your health care plan, marriage or divorce.