Posted by Corinne M. on Tue, May 11, 2010 @ 02:51 PM
You’ve purchased an individual health insurance plan with the right combination of benefits that works you’re your budget. When it comes down to using your plan and managing your health care dollars, becoming more engaged in medical decisions and asking questions helps ensure you’re maximizing your budget.
Since you’ll be paying for many of the medical services covered by your plan until you reach your deductible, you’ll probably want to make sure your treatments are cost-effective. If you have a PPO plan, you’ll automatically receive negotiated discounts by using network providers and hospitals. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions about how your health care affects your out-of-pocket costs, such as:
“Is this doctor in my PPO network?”
“Can this procedure be done on an outpatient basis?”
“Is this really an emergency?”
“Is there a generic available in place of this brand-name drug?”
“How much does this treatment cost?”
You may find the answers to these types of questions result in your finding more affordable alternatives. They might even open up additional dialogue with your health care providers in which you’ll learn more about how services are priced, how payments can be negotiated, and how you can budget for various future health care costs.
Asking questions and getting more involved in your health care decisions will impact more than the bottom line. You’ll also gain a better understanding of your body, medical conditions, treatments and options. This will naturally improve the quality of your care – and that gives you peace of mind that doesn’t have a price tag.
For more information on being an empowered patient, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.