How to Make the Most of your Health Insurance

By Compuquotes Team on March 27th, 2008

Health Insurance

Saving money on your health insurance is not as straightforward as saving on life insurance, mortgages, and other types of financial purchases. However, you can get the most out of your health insurance in other ways that don't involve saving money so much as they do understanding how your insurance works so you can take advantage of it more effectively.

Choose the Right Plan

Given that there are half a dozen or more different types of managed care health insurance plans that differ from each other in some important ways, choosing the right plan is extremely important. If you choose a plan that isn't right for your family's lifestyle, you could end up paying a high price for that choice.

Before selecting a plan, understand the basics of HMOs, PPOs, and different plan types such as Point of Service, Fee for Service, and Self-Directed Health Plans. Making an informed choice about the health insurance you choose for you and your family is crucial.

Understand how your Plan Works

Each type of plan differs in some important ways, such as:

Whether or not you must choose a primary care doctor
The ability to visit healthcare providers who aren't in the carrier's network
The ability to self-refer to specialists
Whether or not you have to pay a deductible or co-payments
How much extra you must pay for non-network versus network visits
Whether or not the plan covers preventative healthcare

It's easy to see just from this short list that choosing the wrong plan could end up costing you plenty of money. If one of your family members has a chronic health condition that involves regular visits to a specialist, a plan that charges a large fee for non-network visits could prove very expensive.

Use Pre-tax Dollars for Healthcare Expenses

Increasing numbers of employers offer Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts that allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars to savings accounts that are dedicated to covering medical expenses that aren't paid for by your insurance.

Using your pre-tax income helps you stretch your money out further, and the money you save can be used for expenses such as deductibles, co-pays, visits that aren't covered by insurance (such as alternative treatments), and even travel expenses relating to your healthcare visits.

Keep Good Records

Never assume that your medical bills and insurance statements are always correct. Mistakes can get made, either by a healthcare worker or your insurance company, so it's important to check every document you receive to make sure it's accurate. Keeping good records is also important to resolve claims disputes.

Stay Healthy

You might have health insurance to fall back on, but even so, making the effort to stay healthy will reduce your healthcare costs and extend your lifespan, too.

If you're a proponent of healthy living and preventative healthcare, consider a Self-Directed Health Plan to supplement your health insurance. These provide money for preventative visits such as physical exams, routine check-ups and immunizations.

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