Group health benefit administrators and managers can make their employees aware of some money saving tips when using their health insurance.
It may be a good idea to do a seminar or send out a refresher to employees so they remember how their plan can help their wallet, not hurt it.
Here are the biggest tips to save:
Use in-network doctors. Doctors, hospitals, outpatient testing, treatment, and surgery centers that are in-network will save a lot of money. Most insurers offer online and telephone directories to target in-network providers that will equal cost savings.
Ask your doctor about the best care for the best price. Doctors often have more than one drug to treat medical conditions and illnesses. When you chat with your doctor about benefits, see if there are generic options that will help you the same, but cost less. Many plans also offer mail order pharmacy options that have discounts on prescriptions. And with many drugs now available in similar formulas over the counter, see if your doctor recommends any of these more affordable medications.
Call before you run to the doctor. You can sometimes avoid the expense and hassle of going to the doctor if you need a medication or consultation on a lab follow up. Many doctors will fax a prescription refill to your pharmacy and they or their nurses will discuss the results of lab tests over the phone. Both can save patients money on copays and time.
Go to the most appropriate doctor for medical concerns. Retail clings in department, grocery, and drug stores have convenient, quick, and even weekend care in some stores. But patients should check their benefits coverage to see if the costs are on par with their primary doctor. Equally as important is deciding on whether or not to go to the emergency room. Patients should call their health plan’s nurse line or doctor’s office to see if a trip to the ER is going to worth the big cost and potential wait time. Many people go to the ER for back pain, fevers, and nausea that are slowing down the staff’s ability to address more serious illness and injuries. So if a hospital visit is necessary, be sure to check that the hospital is in-network. Just because your doctors works at that hospital or has admitting privileges does not mean that the hospital is covered under your plan. So check coverage and even estimate costs on many of the provider’s web calculators before you go if possible.
Read medical bills and invoices. Billing errors do happen, so review the cost when checking out at the doctor and when the invoice comes in the mail. Adjustments after you have visited the doctor will affect your wallet, so keep a file and call your insurer to double check that you are paying the correct amount.
Seek out the best provider when it comes to specialized exams. Services at labs can cost dramatically less than those done at hospital facilities. Same goes for pathology tests, MRIs and CT scans, as well as colonoscopy, endoscopy, and arthroscopy tests. An insurer will have online cost calculators and provider listings that will give greater value than a hospital visit.
Focus on preventive health, not just current problems. Regular physicals, screenings, and immunizations will help ward off problems before they start. Providers oftentimes list recommended tests and schedules for children and adults. Patients save a lot of money taking care of the health versus ending up with a chronic condition that can affect their lifestyle and wallet dramatically.
Reviewing your insurance provider and their benefits will help employers know that they have the best plan for their employees. This means a lot of savings for their workers and confidence in their benefits package.