I’ve been without health insurance for almost 7 years now. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I now have coverage. Well, almost. There was a delay in sending my information to the insurance company, which means my bill wasn’t even generated and mailed until almost 1/1/14, but as long as I pay it by 1/28/14, I’ll have coverage back to 1/1/14. Confusing, much?
I know there’s been a ton of debate about finding work in the healthcare field. A lot of my friends have used sites like www.healthitjobs.com and other tech sites to find work – and it’s a growing field. But what I want to point out is exactly what folks in this field are doing. They’re not just building healthcare sites or creating exchanges for doctors offices and hospitals to use. They’re creating tools you can use regularly, too – especially now that you have insurance.
Review Your Insurance Company’s Website
It doesn’t matter what company you are using – they have a website. Mine, for example, is AmeriHealth Express. I can log in and see a ton of information, and that’s what I want you to consider – the information your company puts at your fingertips. Trust me when I say you are going to want to be able to find information on your own. I’ve called my company twice in the past week and haven’t gotten through to a person yet.
So what might you find?
First of all, there are explanations of your benefits. What deductibles did you agree to? What are your copays for visiting the doctor? What coinsurance amounts will you be responsible for? Do you have a a maximum out of pocket limit for the year? These are all things you want to know so that you can track your expenses throughout the year.
This section should also tell you about other benefits – like therapeutic manipulation (chiropractors), physical therapy, home care, and other things you might not necessarily need. You should also look to see if you have vision care, and at what deductibles or limits, and what your prescription coverage entails.
After you’ve gone over your actual benefits, look to see if there are any additional health and wellness programs included with your policy. My insurance company, for example, offers discounts for smoking cessation programs, free stress management information and guides, and a more indepth partnership with WebMD. There is also a wellness program that offers me points for completing a health profile, visiting my doctor, exercising, and for getting nutritional counseling. The points add up and can be used to earn specific rewards. My insurance company wants me to utilize wellness programs in order to prevent illness or at least detect it early enough for treatment.
In my particular case, I can also use the website to find doctors, keep track of my health records, print ID cards, and even estimate the cost of future treatments.
Don’t ignore the tools your health insurance company is giving you. They’re there to help you maximize your benefits. You’re paying for them, so you may as well take advantage!