You never know when an accident or unexpected illness will hit and medical bills can be very expensive. Health insurance can help protect you from going into debt from medical bills while helping you to receive the necessary treatments. There are four main types of health insurance plans that help you tailor your medical insurance to your needs- Exclusive provider organization (EPO), Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Point of Service (POS), and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).
- Exclusive Provider Organization – This is a managed care plan that covers your services only if you use the doctors, specialists and hospitals in the plan’s network. You are not required to have a referral to see specialists, but you must use on of the ones in-network.
- Health Maintenance Organization – This health insurance plan limits coverage to doctors who are contracted with the HMO. The coverage doesn’t extend to out-of-network care unless it is during an emergency. HMOs focus on prevention and wellness and requires you to have a primary care physician for referrals to specialists.
- Point of Service – A POS plan operates like a combination of a PPO plan and a HMO plan. It allows you to pay less using the plan’s network, but it requires you to get a referral from a primary care provider before seeing any specialist. Premiums for a POS plan are mid-range.
- Preferred Provider Organization – This plan allows you to pay less for the providers in their network, but it also offers the flexibility of seeing providers outside of the network without a referral. A PPO is a better option for people who regularly see specialists and don’t want the hassle of an referral from a primary care physician. A PPO plan usually has the highest premiums.
How to save with health insurance
Healthcare costs are rising, but insurance can help you avoid expensive doctor bills. Insurance companies negotiate discounted rates for their policy holders, so you will save on your services even before meeting your deductible. For example, a covered individual may pay $85 for an office visit compared to the $150 someone without coverage will pay.
In addition to the discounts, the following health insurance tips can help you save:
Select a health plan that is right for you.
Before choosing a plan, determine the needs of your family. A plan with higher premiums ensures that more of your health costs are covered. This may be a good choice if you have chronic health conditions such as epilepsy, or diabetes, and need regular care. If you rarely visit doctors, you may want to select a plan with a high deductible with lower monthly premiums. This will save money overall.
Save money on prescriptions.
Health insurance will cut the cost of your prescriptions. You can also save by asking your provider if you can switch to generic medications which have the same ingredient and cost less than brand name drugs. Ordering by mail medications that you regularly take can save you plenty of money. Make sure that you take your medications as prescribed to avoid future health complications.
Use your benefits.
Get routine health screenings to catch health problems early before they become major issues. Often you do not have to pay a copay for vaccines, screenings and the annual well visit. Use the health plan’s health advocate or case manager to make the most of your benefits. Health advocates can help you navigate complex health problems like asthma or diabetes. Also, you may have free and discounted services like gym memberships and eyewear.
Stick to In-network providers.
Most health insurance plans are based around a network of health are providers including doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies. These providers offer discounts in exchange for being in-network. Out-of-network providers will charge full price and could leave you with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. Always go to the in-network providers to prevent overpaying.
Open a health savings account.
Health insurance doesn’t cover every expense. You still have co-pays and deductibles to meet. It is a great idea to have a health savings account that allows you to set aside money before taxes to cover the qualified medical expenses. Examples of qualified medical expenses include copays and deductibles. You can set up an HSA if you have a high-deductible plan. This will provide you with resources for any unexpected medical bills.
The better you understand your health insurance plan, the more you can save on your medical bills. While the monthly premium may seem like a huge financial burden when you are healthy, it will help you avoid expensive doctor bills during a medical emergency. Tapping into the discounts that come with your health insurance can help you save money with preventative care as well.
If you are finding it difficult to fit your health insurance premium into your budget, you may want to use a money management app to help you with your budget. Thinkflow can help you visualize your spending and discover side jobs to earn more money.
If you find yourself in need of emergency funds to cover some unexpected medical expenses, consider an online installment loan from Jora Credit today.