Adulting: Understanding Health Insurance (Pt. 4)
*Health Insurance Literacy: (1) Find, (2) evaluate information, (3) select and (4) use*
We've touched on quite a bit as it relates to Health Insurance Literacy and all we have left is to simply use the plan. For some, using a health insurance plan is rare and for others their plan is used on a consistent basis. One thing is for sure, there are services that both parties (those who use it and those who do not) can benefit from, IF their plans offer it. I'm sure we all like the sound of "covered at 100%" or "$0 cost to you," at least I do. Today, we're going to touch on some of those benefits and it will be left up to you to check with your health insurance to confirm if it is available.
You Have Benefits - Claim Your Benefits
*Ben-uh-fit- something that is advantageous or good; an advantage
The word benefit can be used in any aspect of life. There's "friends with benefits," then the question we may ask of "how will this benefit me," and of course we have "insurance benefits." At times we may not always feel like our insurance benefits are doing a whole lot for us when we get a large bill, but I just look at it like "what if I didn't have insurance at all," and then I'm good. However, there are some benefits we have that really will make us feel more positive about our insurance coverage. I do want to say that not all plans have the benefits I am going to discuss in them. Remember what we've discussed throughout this series...DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Preventive Care- these are services that individuals receive in order to prevent an illness or injury. However, that doesn't mean every single service you receive to prevent an illness falls under this benefit as it relates to health insurance.
Example: if you have been experiencing a bad cough and you go to the doctor to get it checked out, although you could be preventing the cough worsening, this is not considered as preventive care.
The preventive care benefit allows you to receive services at $0 cost to you.
For some plans, you may see that routine colonoscopies for individuals 50+, routine mammograms for women 40+, and well woman exams are all services that fall under the preventive care benefit. Some plans may not have an age restriction, while others do.
Always be sure to check with your physician about what tests they will order for your wellness visits. Some physicians order tests that do not fall under the preventive care benefit. It is also always good to check with your insurance company to confirm if these services are covered once you have spoken with your physician.
*Here's more information about preventive care and how to make sure the services you are receiving fit under this benefits.*
Health Incentive Programs: remember in week two how we talked about financial accounts that some insurance plans offer? Well outside of your employer putting funds into your account, you can also earn money to go in that account by participating in incentive programs. Insurance companies main goal is to save money, so the healthier consumers are, the less money is spent by your insurer (Insurer = Insurance Company). I recommend asking your insurance company if they have any wellness or incentive programs available. At times, it may not be money that you earn, but maybe a chance to win a Fitbit or Apple Watch as an example.
These incentive programs vary, but you may see some geared towards fitness, weight loss, diabetes, stress management, and the list goes on and on...and on and on (In my Erykah Badu voice). I have earned so much money by participating in health incentive programs. Right now, I don't have a need for the money, but if something ever comes up, I am at peace with having some funds available to cover the cost.
Never Be Afraid
In life I have learned that my lack of asking questions, puts me in some of the worst situations at times. When I am speaking with someone, I do not always have the questions, but later on a million could come up. There's nothing wrong with going back to someone with a crap load of questions that have come to your mind. The same goes for health insurance. When you call your insurance company for whatever reason and don't have questions, but some come up later on, don't be afraid of calling back. Your money is being spent to use your insurance every month, and the last thing we want to do is waste money on something that we do not know how to use, right?
The More You Know
These last four weeks of sharing information about health insurance has been nothing short of amazing. I've worked in the health insurance field for almost seven years and I always wanted people to have a full understanding of its complexities. I started out clueless about health insurance and that is the worst position to be in, especially when one is need of health services. Instead of constantly hearing people express their frustrations of not being able to understand it, I wanted to help the best I could by providing the basics. My goal with this series was for at least one person to find this as helpful, and that was accomplished! I'm so grateful to everyone who has taken the time out of their day to see what I have to share about adulting. This will not be the last you'll hear from me on that topic, believe that!
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