Last month, I asked for your top questions about health insurance plans. The number ONE concern was about maximizing health coverage. I have the same concerns. As our insurance plan is totally changing this year, I’m in a sea of new information. We’re moving from a PPO to an HSA plan (I have no idea what or how we’re covered!). Yikes! So I did some research on getting the most from your health insurance plan!
CAUTION: Every health insurance plan is different: (individual, family, copay, HSA, high-deductible, etc). So, don’t take these tips as gospel for every single plan. Do your due diligence and in EVERY case, please call your insurance company and verify the details for sure!
Getting the most from your health insurance plan
This is a sponsored post.
Create a folder or binder of information (or digital file!) about your health care plan. Some things to include:
- copy of insurance cards
- summary of benefits and coverage (a hard copy from your provider is the most reliable (and quick) source of information)
- important numbers
- website addresses
- lists of doctors and their numbers
- insurance statements (Check these. Be sure the information is accurate right away about care received and costs paid).
Update your information annually. Set aside time each year to review what is covered so you’re not surprised.
Strategies for using your plan
Stay in-network. Your provider negotiates lower rates with in-network providers. I know it’s not always ideal, but try to take advantage!
Find the lowest cost provider. SOME plans allow you to look up cost of services on their websites! (not the individual doctor/provider site, but your insurance site! Check to see if yours has this feature!). If you have a high-deductible plan, this could help save you money!
Utilize clinics and doctors offices instead of hospitals. For services that don’t require a stay in the hospital, you can often find better prices at other locations. (source: Consumer Reports)
“Shop” health plans annually. Every year, your family’s needs may be different. Check out all your options. High-deductible? Low deductible? FSA or HSA? If you’re a family with special needs, perhaps increasing your health care coverage could save you money in the long run?
Strategize your deductible spending.
- Keep a close eye on medical spending to track when deductibles are met.
- Schedule procedures to your advantage. Find out whether it’s best to schedule procedures BEFORE year-end, or if waiting until the start of the new year will be more advantageous (specific tips can be found here).
- Call ASAP to schedule appointments – many people are trying to “cash in” on this strategy, so offices are unusually busy at year-end!
- FSA – SPEND the FSA funds – they are “use it or lose it” monies.
- HSA – Don’t rush to spend – these monies roll-over into the next year.
- ALWAYS call your health insurance provider to verify costs and where you are with deductible costs/spending!
Check for extra benefits
Free screenings and services: Due to health care reform, many preventative services and screenings are free of charge. Prevention is the best health care! Here’s the list of preventative health services directly from the government website.
Discounts: Some plans offer discounts on gym memberships, LASIK surgery and more. Check to see where you might get extra savings by going through your health insurance provider.
Education: Classes, seminars, support groups, or downloadable materials are often offered through insurance plans. Parents-to-be should especially take note!
Rewards: Many insurance plans offer discounts on your premium or other incentives for staying healthy (like maintaining annual wellness checks).
Tax deductions: Save receipts and statements. Check with your tax preparer to find out how much you have to spend annually on health care (and what kinds of costs qualify) to see if you can claim this expenditure on your taxes. Find out if contributing to your HSA qualifies as a tax deduction.
Dare to find out about your health insurance coverage!
Dear reader, as I’ve said many times throughout this post, please always call your OWN insurance provider to verify information. Be daring – seek out the information that will save you time and money while keeping you well!
I’ve partnered once again with United Healthcare to bring you this post, AND to share their monthly We Dare You to Share contests!! Here’s your chance to win great cash prizes:
- Play a Concentration Game matching insurance tools to their definitions for a chance to win!! PRIZE: $400 Prepaid Gift Card
- Take our managing health care costs quiz – I hope my post helps you score an A! PRIZE: $400 Prepaid Gift Card
- Watch the “Virtual Visits” video and share your opinion and be entered to win! PRIZE: $400 Prepaid Gift Card!
WIN a Ninja Bullet Blender Giveaway!
UnitedHealthcare and the We Dare You to Share Challenge has donated a Ninja Bullet Blender for me to giveaway here on my site! Since March is National Nutrition Month, this prize will help you whip up some healthful smoothies, right?
Here’s how to enter THIS giveaway:
1) Go to the We Dare You to Share website.
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**Note: Winners may only win ONE We Dare You To Share blog giveaway per month (among all participating bloggers).
Sponsored by United Healthcare; I received compensation for sharing this message. All opinions are my own. I am not responsible for fulfilling giveaway prizes.