Tips To Maximize Your Health Insurance Plan

Tips To Maximize Your Health Insurance Plan text overlaying image of building blocks showing money going to different pointsThe average person in the United States spends about $3,400 a year on health insurance. If you’re going to spend a lot of money on health insurance, you should make sure you’re getting the most out of it. You’re already paying for the benefits so why not use them and get your money’s worth. To get the most out of your plan you can do things like stay in-network, take advantage of routine screenings, and recommended exams. Use these easy tips to maximize all of the perks in your plan to keep yourself healthy.

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Review Your Plan Annually

You need to know what’s in your plan before you can figure out how to use it. Many people don’t use the benefits of their health insurance policy because they don’t know about them. You know those packets your health insurance company sends you when you start a plan or when it renews? In there is an easy simple to read summary of all your plan’s benefits and perks, you can also create an account of the company’s website to access that summary online. Your health insurance company may do more than just help pay for your care. For example, they may give you savings at the gym or help you deal with your asthma. Don’t pass up any of these extra benefits. Some common perks are:

 

  • Discounted vision and hearing services
  • Gym memberships
  • Wellness programs
  • Mental health services
  • Telemedicine 

Insurance companies often make changes to benefits and policy terms that take effect when the policy is renewed. So, even if you’ve had the same plan for a long time and you’re pretty sure you know what it covers, take a few minutes to read that summary every year. Going over it could show you new perks or even perks you need taken away. Not to mention, your health changes as you get older so coverage that you didn’t need or care about before might become a deal breaker with that plan.

Things To Consider

You don’t know if rates or perks have changed, so don’t assume it’s the same as the last one. Cost is important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you think about. You should also think about the provider’s image and the plan’s network.

Premium

By paying a premium, you can keep getting the perks listed in your health insurance plan. You can pay it every month, every three months, every six months, or once a year. Premiums for health plans change based on a number of things. There is no perfect amount for a premium, but it must be reasonable all year long. 

Deductible

Before your health insurance starts to pay for your health care costs, you have to pay a certain amount out of pocket each year. If you need a lot of medical care, a health plan with a low deductible is generally best. If you reach it sooner, your plan will start paying for your costs sooner. However, if you are in good health, a plan with a high deductible may be better because it will save you money on your premium.

Copay

A copay is one way that you and your health plan provider share the costs. It means that you have to pay a set amount for each service before you can get it. Your copay depends on what kind of service you need, but it’s usually at least $10. You will always spend the same amount on health care, no matter how much it costs all together. This makes your health costs consistent.

Network

Your network is the group of doctors or other health care providers whose services are covered by your health plan. Most of the time, your source won’t pay for services that aren’t in their network. Check to see if your favorite doctors, clinics, or labs are in the network for your plan. They should be, if possible. If not, you may have to choose between what you want and how much it will cost.

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Carefully Pick Your Primary Care Provider

It’s very important to have a doctor who knows you well, especially over a long period of time. If you don’t have a primary care provider, you end up going to different doctors and clinics when you’re sick. They don’t know what your normal is as far as your vital signs, labs, and medical history. So all they can do is treat the immediate symptoms rather than have a full care plan which you may sometimes need more than just putting a bandaid on your symptoms. A good doctor who knows your family background and your normal vital signs and symptoms. They can help you stay healthy by letting you know about screenings you are qualified for, finding problems before they become big problems, and sending you to a specialist if you need one.

 

Keep in mind while you’re picking your primary care doctor make sure they’re in-network for your insurance company. No matter what type of plan you have you will always save more money by seeing an in-network provider.

Use Your Plan’s Preventative Care

Even if you have a basic plan with a high premium, you should be covered for any screenings or other “preventive” care you need. This means you don’t have to pay a copay or other out-of-pocket costs. This includes getting tested for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Most tests for breast cancer and immunizations, such as the flu shot, are also free.

Schedule Procedures Strategically

We know an emergency surgery isn’t something you can plan, but you can be smart about when you schedule visits and procedures. If you can plan ahead for a big medical treatment, there are a few ways to schedule it to get the most out of your health insurance. Some people won’t get a big procedure until they’ve met their deductible. If you don’t have much money saved up, this might make sense.

 

If you get health care services throughout the year that count toward your deductible and then plan surgery after you’ve met it, it’s more likely that your insurance will pay most of the cost of the surgery and you won’t have to pay a big bill out of pocket. Others who have the money up front might choose to plan a more expensive procedure to meet their deductible early in the year, knowing that the rest of their healthcare costs that year will be covered by insurance.

Save Important Contacts

We can’t always predict when we’ll need quick medical help or to go to the nearest urgent care or emergency room. Costs can be kept down by going to care workers in your network. It’s better to get ready ahead of time. To get started, call your insurance company. Their team will help you figure out where to go or who to call. Put this information in your phone or address book as soon as you have it. So, if you need to ask a question or get to urgent care quickly, you’ll have all the information you need. 

 

While you’re saving contacts in your phone don’t forget your support team. Your care is made better by the people who help you. Save the important phone numbers for your insurance company, like the member services line and the nurse advice line. This makes it easy to get in touch with them if you need help or answers. Some apps and websites show the email addresses of their support teams, which you can add to your email contacts. Some also have chat functions or pages that you can save for later use. If you can, write down the hours of operation so you know when you’re most likely to get in touch with someone on the support team.

Work With an EZ Agent

It can be hard to figure out your own health insurance because there are so many things to think about. No one likes to spend hours reading about different plan perks and costs, so why not let a professional do all the hard work for free? There is a way to get cheap health insurance without having to go through a lot of trouble. A qualified EZ insurance agent can explain what each plan’s pros and cons are. And help you come up with the plan that works best for you. 

 

Working with an EZ agent saves you time and stress because you don’t have to try to figure out legal jargon or read small print. Agents do all the hard work, so you can relax knowing that your coverage will meet your financial and medical needs the best. 

Not to mention that EZ agents can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your health insurance bills. We do this by being able to look for the cheapest rates both on and off the market. EZ can also find and use any savings you might be able to get. We don’t just help you find a plan, though. We also help you keep it up to date. EZ can help you make claims with your insurance company and help you renew your policy when it’s time. To get started, just type your zip code into the box below or call 877-670-3557 to talk to one of our certified agents.

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How to Choose a New Primary Care Physician (PCP)

Your doctor is one of the most important people in your life, so choosing the right primary care physician (PCP) is a big decision. The doctor, and by extension the clinic they work in, are both going to be heavily relied upon when you’re sick. The last place you want to go is somewhere you’re not comfortable with.

Remember, this is the person you rely on to stay as healthy as possible, and you should make your choice based on a few key steps.

PCP with patient looking at x-rays
Your PCP is an important partner for taking care of your health.

Locate the Clinic

The clinic where your doctor works is the easiest way to find and contact them. You can find a list of these online with a quick search and most come with reviews attached, as well as information like address and phone number.

Once you gather a list, you can start narrowing it down. Ask questions like:

  • Is the office close to where I live and work?
  • Are the doctors recommended by people I know?
  • How are the reviews on the website?
  • Do they accept Medicare Advantage transportation benefits?
  • Are they in-network?

To make matters easier, some health insurance companies have search engines that give you a list of in-network doctors near you. This can be a big time saver.

After you answer all these questions, you should have about 2-3 doctors that you’re ready to research a little deeper.

Gather Information

Another way to utilize your health insurance company is to see if they have a quality check for the PCPs they list. Alternatively, there are other online resources that list accredited doctors with their awards, acknowledgments, and organizations they are a part of.

PCP and surgeons operating on a patient
You don’t want to wind up here after neglecting your health. Work with your doctor.

Once you’re reasonably sure of your decision, it’s time to place a call to the clinic. You don’t want to wait until you’re sick and stressed before you choose a new PCP. This should be done carefully, so you know your choice is accurate.

Make a cold call to the doctor’s office. Doing this is a great tactic that will answer several questions just based on the conversation you have with the staff:

  • Is the staff friendly and communicative?
  • Is the clinic taking new patients?
  • How do they handle prescription refills?
  • Will they follow-up on your services?

Just a quick conversation can help narrow down what atmospheres are better for you. Remember when you’re choosing a physician, you’re also choosing their staff, meaning the nurses that assist you, the technicians involved, and the receptionist.

PCP holding red stethoscope
Remember to choose a doctor you trust. The most important part is feeling comfortable talking with them.

Meet In-Person

The final step before choosing is to meet with the PCP in person. This is going to give you that final comprehensive view of what it’ll be like to interact with them on a regular basis.

One good way to do this is to ask for a physical. A general health look will get you familiar with their facilities and is sometimes covered by your insurance as well. During the exam, you can talk to the doctor and see what their specialties are, what their manner is, and how you feel about including them in your life.

Paying special attention to how they speak to you is important. Some people prefer a friendlier doctor who will chat for a moment and remember personal information while others prefer someone who is all business. Whatever your needs are, this last visit should settle in your mind which doctor is the right choice.

While you don’t have unlimited funds for this search, you should still take your time. Listen to your instincts before you choose a doctor because they’re usually right. Your PCP is someone you need to trust with personal information, and someone who will be knowledgeable about your medical history. Don’t be afraid to start over if you feel like you’ve made a mistake. As long as you’re in-network, you should find someone you’re happy with.