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Getting the Most Out of Your Health Insurance

By Compuquotes Team on March 27th, 2008
Health Insurance

Your health insurance company wants to be a partner in keeping you healthy. Over the past few decades, the major health insurers have come to realize that keeping their subscribers healthy is one of the best ways to reduce their own costs. They took a long, hard look at their way of doing business, and the ways that their policies forced consumers into ill-fitting health care and started making changes to their policies to reflect health care that makes sense. Understanding your health insurance company and getting to know the benefits they offer can afford you a lot of little perks that could make your life healthier, happier and longer. Are you getting the most out of your health insurance? Here are some of the ways that today's health insurance options and policies can benefit you.

Managed Care
The two words that many people hate actually represent a paradigm that returns medicine to its roots when one family practitioner saw you for every ailment and knew your medical history. The job of your primary care physician is not to act as a gatekeeper and deny you needed treatment. It's to recognize trends and pick up on cues from your total health picture that a specialist might miss. You can make the most of managed care by being sure that your primary care physician is your first and primary contact for all your needed health care.

Preventive Health Care
Many health plans include benefits for annual physicals, and for recommended medical screenings as you age. Take full advantage of blood pressure screenings, free inoculations and flu shots and diagnostic tests like mammograms. The health insurance companies have learned that it makes far more sense to provide the screenings at reduced cost to make early diagnoses and cut the expenses of treating long-term chronic conditions.

Alternative and Complementary Health Care
For decades, the only treatments that health insurance companies would cover were those delivered by an MD, and even then, there were some treatments that were considered experimental. Insurance companies are far more broad-minded today. The emphasis on preventive health care and health maintenance rather than crisis management has opened new doors. Every major health insurance company offers plans that include a benefit for health and fitness club memberships. Many will cover a percentage of nutrition counseling, particularly if you are trying to lose weight. Some cover dues and membership to such groups as Weight Watchers. Many offer or cover the cost of smoking cessation clinics and intervention. Some may even cover such more esoteric alternative med treatments as acupuncture and transcendental meditation.

Experimental Studies and Clinical Trials
A great deal of the research being carried out on treatments for nearly every condition is being underwritten by health insurance companies. Many of them list clinical trials and experiments under their aegis on a section of their web site. If you are a good candidate for one of the studies or clinical trials, you may qualify for free medical care at the cutting edge of current knowledge.

Your best option for staying in touch with what your health insurance company offers is to sign up for any newsletters they offer. Read over your policy carefully to make sure that you know the services and treatments that are covered. And if you're not certain whether a treatment or medication will be covered, call member services and ask. Their job is to steer you toward the best possible health care for your needs.

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