Whether you have job-based coverage or purchased a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace, making the most of your health insurance is more important than ever now that an increasing number of consumers are assuming a greater share of their health care costs.
Consider these factors to get the most value for your plan.
Whenever possible, compare the actual prices of elective health care procedures – such as a hip replacement or having a baby – to keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum. The cost for the same medical service can vary by tens of thousands of dollars from one provider to another.
Stay in the physician network
Choose doctors and hospitals that are part of your plan’s network, whenever you can. Going outside your plan’s network of providers can lead to additional costs. Non-network providers may bill for charges that exceed the amount that your plan reimburses for a covered service.
Review the drug formulary
Make sure your prescription medications are included in your plan’s list of covered drugs, also known as a drug formulary. If not, talk to your doctor to determine if another medication on the list would be just as effective. Choose a generic version of a drug, whenever possible. Generic medications are substantially less expensive than brand-name drugs.
Take advantage of the wellness and preventive services – from annual check-ups and cancer screenings to childhood vaccinations – that are now available at no cost thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Staying healthy is one of the best ways to save health care dollars. It’s less expensive to get a vaccination, for example, than to get admitted to the hospital with the flu.