How to Make the Most of Your Health Insurance
We hear ya – health insurance can be expensive. (But imagine the cost of your medical bills if you didn't have it!) Unfortunately, a lot of people don't take advantage of everything their plan offers. It's not just about paying the bulk of your doctor visit and lab test bills; your plan can actually help you save money while getting or staying healthy. It's true!
Call your health insurer or check their website to see if your health plan offers services like these, maybe even at a cheaper rate or for no extra cost:
- Discounts. Some plans offer discounts for health and wellness products and services, like gym memberships, massage sessions, or LASIK surgery.
- Education. Many plans offer classes and seminars on fitness, nutrition, or other health topics.
- Help kicking the habit. Many plans offer quit-smoking coaches, hotlines, support groups, or discounts on products to help you quit smoking.
- Disease management. Your plan might offer free counseling, education, and support for people with chronic diseases or mental health issues.
- Hapai help. See if your plan offers classes, support groups, or educational materials for mommies-to-be (daddies, too!).
- Health coaches and health assessments. Many plans have programs that will offer members free blood pressure, cholesterol, height, weight, and body mass index screenings. Sometimes, you can fill out an in-depth health questionnaire, giving you a more complete view of your overall health. You might even be offered a health coach to help you meet health goals.
- Healthy-living rewards. Many plans reward members for being healthy, fit, and well. You might get money for exercising, eating right, or meeting goals. Cha-ching!
- Screenings and shots. Thanks to health care reform, you don't have to pay extra for many important cancer screenings and vaccinations. Read more about preventive screenings.
Make the most of your health insurance with these money-saving tips.
- Make sure your plan is right for you. Choose a plan that covers the things you or your family need. If you're planning to start a family, for example, make sure your plan covers prenatal and maternity care. On the other hand, if you don't think that you'll see a doctor often, you might choose a high-deductible health plan with lower premiums.
- Take the freebies. Your vision plan might cover free eyeglasses, and your health plan probably covers an annual flu shot. Don't forget about those important health screenings that don't cost you extra. And be sure to look into free classes and programs that your insurer offers.
- Pay attention during open enrollment. If you get health insurance through work, you can probably make changes to your benefits only once a year during open enrollment. Take a good look at how much you spent on medical costs in the past, and think about any life changes you might make in the next year (having a baby, for example). You might change your plan or tweak your FSAs and HSAs based on what you discover. Learn more about health care budgeting.
- Use generic medicine and get it in the mail. Generic drugs and mail-order prescriptions can help you save money. Learn more about prescription drugs.
- Enroll in an FSA or HSA if they're offered and it makes sense for you. You can save on health care by setting some money aside before you need it. Learn more about FSAs and HSAs.
- See doctors in your network. Learn why it costs less to see a doctor who participates with your health plan.
- Look at your statements closely. The statement from your insurer for treatment you received, also known as an explanation of benefits (EOB), shows the amount the insurance company paid to you or the provider, and the amount you have to pay. Make sure your statements correctly show the treatment you received and any copayments or coinsurance you paid.
- Stay well! Living a healthy lifestyle and keeping chronic diseases under control can mean lower health care costs. Learn more about the benefits of being healthy.