With the cost of healthcare today, everyone needs health insurance. Even young, active, healthy people can be involved in an accident, contract a virus, or develop an infection. Without health insurance, the cost of a doctor visit can range from $300 to $600. A five-day hospital stay could cost more than $10,000, not including ambulance services, major procedures, or other charges.
Health insurance premiums are on the rise in 2023. Nationwide, the average increase is 3.5%, although it is significantly higher in some states. The following tips can help you get the most out of your health insurance plan this year.
Read Your Health Plan’s Coverage Documents Carefully
To make full use of your health insurance, you need to know what it covers. Read your plan’s documents from cover to cover every year, even if you believe you already know what they say. Many people fail to take advantage of health insurance benefits simply because they are not aware they exist. They may end up paying out of pocket for expenses that should have been covered.
Take Advantage of Preventive Care
Even with a high deductible plan, you should not be responsible for any out of pocket costs for screenings and other preventive care. Without paying anything out of pocket, you can be screened for diabetes, breast cancer, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. You should also be entitled to free flu shots and other immunizations. With many health plans, there is no copay for your annual physical.
Choose a Good Primary Care Doctor
Your primary care physician (PCP) plays an important role in your healthcare. The doctor who performs your annual physical can keep you up to date on how you are doing health wise and let you know what kind of healthcare you may need. A PCP you continue to see over a period of years will be familiar with what is normal for your vital signs and lab work. He or she will know your family history and flag screenings for which you are eligible. Get recommendations from your friends and family when you are looking for a good doctor.
Plan the Timing of Procedures
If your health plan has a deductible, you must meet a threshold for out of pocket costs before your coverage kicks in. Depending on your plan, your deductible may be as high as thousands of dollars. Once you accumulate enough in costs to meet the deductible, your healthcare costs are covered. However, it resets to zero every year on January 1, at which point you are back to paying medical costs out of pocket until you once again reach the deductible amount. If you are able to plan for an upcoming medical procedure, try to schedule it after your deductible is met to avoid a large out-of-pocket bill.
Health insurance has its own terminology and plan documents can be difficult to understand. Meet with our friendly agent if you need help getting the most out of your health plan.