Welcome back for Part 5 of our blog series on tips to save money on your all your health care needs. The first 4 blog articles mainly dealt with a myriad of ways that you could save a few bucks here and there on everything from prescriptions to healthy food and everything in between. This final blog is going to be focused on what your health plan and your insurance covers as well as using preventative care to make sure that you stay healthy and thus save money. Enjoy.
One of the most vital pieces of information that you need when it comes to your health plan is what it does and does not cover. If you don’t know these facts the first thing you need to do is ask your employer for a copy of your evidence of coverage paperwork. This will explain your benefits in detail, the rights that you have and how your plan works. If you have any questions once you get this paperwork you can usually find the customer service phone number of your health plan on your membership card.
Finding a primary care doctor and then using that Dr. whenever you have any health concerns is an excellent way to keep costs down, especially if there’s a chance that you will go out of your network. Indeed, going to a doctor that is out-of-network is akin to going to a grocery store the charges double for everything; in other words, not a great idea.
If you are having health concerns of any type don’t hesitate to talk about those concerns with your primary health care Doctor, even if you think that they might be silly. The fact is, when it comes to your health there are no silly questions. Getting information early and often is the key to preventative healthcare and will not only keep you healthy but could save you a lot of money.
If you need to see a specialist you’re going to need a referral and also prior approval through your insurance carrier. This is sometimes referred to as an ‘authorization’ and, unless you have it, you might end up paying more for office visits and for tests than you would without it.
Another vital task that’s quite easy to take care of is to always have your membership card with you whenever you visit any healthcare provider. As we mentioned earlier the telephone number of your healthcare provider is usually on the back of the card so that if you have any questions you can call them directly.
It goes without saying that you should keep records dutifully of any and all healthcare tasks, appointments, and anything else so that if need be in the future you can refer back to those. This can help you save money by making sure that you aren’t double billed, overbilled or going out of network.
It is also a very good idea to make healthy lifestyle choices including the type of food that you eat, the amount of exercise that you receive and preventative tests that you should have an irregular basis depending on your sex and your age. (More about that below.)
When it comes to saving money on healthcare one of the most important and vital tasks that you have is to use preventative healthcare services and tests. These regular exams and screenings will not keep you healthy per se but, in the event that you do have an underlying problem that you aren’t aware of, you will find out about it early and be able to do something about it before it becomes a large problem. Some of the most important tests are as follows;
- · Blood pressure. This should be checked every time you visit any doctor’s office.
- · Pap smear / cervical cancer screenings. Every three years after a woman reaches the age of 21.
- · Cholesterol / lipid test. For men 35 years of age and up they should be performed every three years. For women, if there is increased risk of coronary heart disease, this should be performed every three years after the age of 20.
- · Colorectal screening. This should be performed every year after the age of 50.
- · Diabetes screening. If you have a sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80 this should be done once a year.
- · Pregnant women between 24/28 weeks should have gestational diabetes screenings.
- · Mammograms. Beginning at age 40 this should be performed every two years.
- · Osteoporosis screening. For women age 65 and older this should be performed once a year