How to use my health insurance, understand the benefits, schedule my physical, and save money

Understanding your Healthcare

Getting (or using) your health benefits for the first time can be daunting. Below are three simple steps to get you started on the right path.

STEP ONE

Review your insurance plan benefits.

When you enroll in your health insurance plan, you should be given access to several documents that provide care and coverage details. Start by reviewing the “Summary of Benefits and Coverage.” This document outlines which services are covered and how the cost sharing is structured. It is fairly easy to read and you’ll find services grouped by service type, including (but not limited to):

  1. Office Visit

  2. Mental Health

  3. Lab Tests

  4. Prescriptions

  5. Inpatient/Outpatient Surgery

  6. Emergency Room

  7. Pregnancy

Note: You may be surprised to find services such as acupuncture, weight loss programs, or chiropractic care listed on this document as a covered benefit!

This document also clearly shows which services are excluded, meaning there is no coverage for the service.

Check out an example here.

STEP TWO

Schedule an annual preventive physical with a in-network primary care provider.

As long as this is billed correctly, a preventive physical is free, so why not take advantage?!  Click here to learn more about finding an in-network doctor and check out this article to ensure you don’t get a bill!

STEP THREE

Begin contributing to your Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account (if you have one).

Some plans offer accounts that allow you to set aside pre-tax funds to pay for any “qualified healthcare expenses.” By contributing to these accounts, you take advantage of tax savings and create an emergency fund for future healthcare expenditures.

You should review the details of the account available to you. Both accounts have maximum contribution limits, and FSA accounts are generally “use it or lose it” meaning you must spend the amount in the account before the end of the plan year or the money will disappear.

Following these three simple steps can make a big difference down the road, saving you both time and money.

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