The new year may bring a new insurance plan for you, which can lead to missed opportunities that may affect your health and finances.
So this year, help achieve your goals by getting the most out of your benefits and avoiding these five common health insurance mistakes:
- Understand your health care ABCs.
What’s a deductible? Health insurance can be complicated – like trying to pick up a new language. But by learning the terms you can understand how your health plan works. It’s important to remember that most health plans don’t start paying until the deductible amount has been reached. Therefore, you will pay for all of your health care costs until you meet your deductible. Typically, plans with higher premium costs have lower deductibles.
- Make out-of-network care out of the question.
When seeking care, make sure your doctor is in your health insurance network. Seeing an in-network provider (doctor, hospital) will typically save you money because your insurance carrier has negotiated discounted prices. If you see an out-of-network provider, your insurance may not cover any of those costs.
- Know what’s covered before your bill makes you cover your eyes.
Most preventive care services, like annual exams, are covered by insurance plans when performed by a doctor or provider in your plan’s network. Experimental treatments are often not covered by insurance. You can call the number on your health plan ID card to confirm your treatment will be covered before you see your doctor.
- Remember, name brand isn’t always better.
People often think more expensive equals better, but that isn’t the case when it comes to medications. Generic medications often are more affordable than trademarked drugs and have the same formulation, usage and safety as their brand-name equivalents. They’ve undergone rigorous FDA testing and approval. Ask your healthcare provider about your options.
- Comparison shop your health care costs.
Public websites, such as uhc.com/transparency, can give you access to market-average prices for hundreds of medical services in cities nationwide. Health care quality and cost varies by city, so comparison shopping may help you achieve lower out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Some health plans, including UnitedHealthcare, provide online and mobile resources that offer customized estimates based on actual contracted rates with health care providers and facilities.
For additional health insurance tips, visit the UHC NewsroomOpens a new window.