Health insurance is expensive. Unless you have a serious injury or illness, it’s difficult to get your money’s worth. Here are twelve quick ways you can get more out of your individual or family health insurance policy this year:
- Save time with the insurance company mobile app
- Increase peace of mind by knowing your worst-case financial scenario
- Get free or low-cost services by configuring your virtual care options
- Get money back by participating in a wellness rewards program
- Schedule your free annual physical
- Take advantage of free screenings and vaccines
- Set up your mail-order and online pharmacy options
- See if you can save money with member discounts
- Participate in free personal health programs
- Bookmark your provider lookup tool and map out nearby in-network facilities
- Reduce worry by planning for care during emergencies and while traveling
- Save time and reduce stress by assigning an “agent of record”
1. Save time with the insurance company mobile app
Most insurance companies offer mobile apps that you can download via your phone’s app store. These mobile apps typically give you access to your plan details, claims information, year-to-date deductible and out-of-pocket totals, ID cards, and more. Some even include cost estimation tools that allow you to see how much a procedure or surgery will cost based on your plan’s benefits.
Tip: Pull out your phone and install your insurance company’s mobile app.
2. Increase peace of mind by knowing your worst-case financial scenario
One of the main things you pay for when you buy health insurance is catastrophic coverage. Catastrophic coverage protects against a worst-case financial scenario and provides you with peace of mind. The out-of-pocket maximum is the most important plan feature for a worst-case situation; it’s the most you’ll have to pay if you get seriously sick or injured. If you don’t take time to understand your plan’s out-of-pocket maximums, you’re limiting your own peace of mind.
Tip: Find your plan coverage summary, confirm your plan’s out-of-pocket maximums, and think about what it would mean if you were to need $200,000 in healthcare services this year.
3. Get free or low-cost services by configuring your virtual care options
Most insurance companies have two virtual care options: a virtual care service and a nurse line. With a virtual care service, you can connect to a provider within minutes from a smartphone or computer. These virtual care visits are often provided at no cost or for a small fee (e.g. $49 per visit), so they can save you a ton of money on non-emergency doctor and hospital visits. If you’re unsure what to do, the nurse line is a free, 24/7 service staffed by registered nurses who can help you decide how and where to get the right care.
Tip: Confirm your insurance company’s virtual care service and install it on your smartphone. Then, find your insurance company’s nurse line and save it to your contacts.
4. Get money back by participating in a wellness rewards program
Your insurance company may offer a premium rebate or financial reward for participating in a wellness program. Some insurance companies reward you for doing healthy activities like joining a gym or completing step goals. For example, SelectHealth offers up to $480 per year in rewards via their wellness rewards program.
Tip: Find out if your company offers premium rebates or financial rewards as part of a wellness program. If they do, enroll. It’s free money.
5. Schedule your free annual physical exam
Your individual health insurance company must cover your annual physical exams as a preventive care benefit at no cost to you. To ensure your physical remains free, you’ll want to be clear with your doctor that you are only there for a preventive annual physical exam and not a problem-based office visit. The physical exam needs to be prevention-focused; not problem-focused.
Tip: Schedule a free annual physical exam, but be clear you only want a preventive exam.
6. Take advantage of free screenings and vaccines
Your insurance company must also cover certain screenings and vaccinations as a preventive care benefit at no cost to you. What is covered depends on your age, gender, and what the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends. Examples include:
- Blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests
- Cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies
- Routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio, or meningitis
- Flu and pneumonia shots
Tip: Schedule free screenings and vaccinations based on your age and gender.
7. Set up your mail-order and online pharmacy option
Most insurance companies now offer mail-order and online pharmacy options that allow you to have your medications delivered right to your door. Benefits include free shipping, larger supplies, time savings, and lower drug costs.
Tip: Save time and money by enrolling in your insurance company’s mail-in pharmacy option.
8: See if you can save money with member discounts
Many insurance companies now offer special discounts on health-related products and services. For example, you can get discounts on things like gym memberships, acupuncture, eyewear, and more.
Tip: Take advantage of member discounts available on gym memberships, alternative care, and other health-related services.
9. Participate in free personal health programs
Your insurance company probably offers a number of free personal health improvement programs. These can be great resources for help with living a healthier life. Examples include:
- Nutrition programs with dietician services
- Education programs for diabetes and high blood pressure management
- Smoke cessations programs
Tip: If you’re interested in getting help living a healthier life, enroll in free health improvement programs.
10. Bookmark your provider lookup tool and map out nearby in-network facilities
With individual health insurance, you typically have access to a specific provider network. It's important to understand which providers and facilities are considered in-network. If you go to an out-of-network provider, you might pay more and the services may not be covered at all. Some individual health insurance plans don’t provide any out-of-network coverage except for emergency care. Your insurance company has an online provider lookup tool to make it easy for you to find in-network providers in your area.
Tip: Use your insurance company’s provider lookup tool to familiarize yourself with the in-network providers near your home and work.
11. Reduce worry by planning for care during emergencies and while traveling
By taking some time to answer two important what-if questions, you can sleep better at night. If there’s an emergency, what hospital will we go to? And you’re traveling out-of-state or out-of-country, what are your care options?
Tip: Sleep better by having a plan for how to handle care during emergencies and when you’re traveling.
12. Save time and reduce stress by assigning a helpful “agent of record”
When you pay your premium, the insurance company sets aside a small amount of money each month to pay a third party agent to help you. Most people don't realize this, but you're paying for an agent whether you have one or not. Agent services (like LegUp Health) can help you save time and money using and managing your coverage throughout the year. You can switch agents without changing your health insurance plan at any time by signing an agent of record change letter.
Tip: Don’t leave free services on the table—assign a helpful “agent of record” to your health insurance policy.