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You Have Health Insurance. Now What?

Tips to help you start using your health plan

Written by: Andrew Hall.

Key Takeaways

  • Making sure the providers you choose are in-networkIn-network refers to the doctors, hospitals and other providers that are inside of your provider network. This is the group of providers that has agreed with your health insurance company to treat its customers. will help you from spending avoidable and high out-of-pocket costs.

  • Make an appointment and get care for some of the things you may have been putting off.

  • Prescription drug coverage is one of the 10 Essential Health BenefitsEssential Health Benefits are 10 benefits every health insurance policy must include under the Affordable Care Act. They are: •outpatient care •emergency services •hospitalization •maternity and newborn care •mental health •prescription drugs •rehabilitative and habilitative care •laboratory services •preventive care •pediatric services. your plan must cover.

  • Your insurance policy likely has benefits for certain services that will help you pursue a healthy lifestyle. Things like physical therapy, mental health counseling, tobacco cessation, and weight-loss coaching may be covered.

Knowing How to Use Your New Coverage

Congratulations! You can finally cross “Get Health Insurance” off that mile-long to-do list.

Now that you have coverage, making sure you know how to use it correctly is your next step in making sure you’re saving money and staying healthy. Understanding how health insurance works and using it maximumly can be confusing. We outline the top four things you should do to put your new policy to work.

1. Choose an In-Network Doctor

It’s important to make sure whatever doctor or healthcare facility you choose is in your plan’s network. If you choose a doctor or facility out-of-network, your health care services can either be much more expensive or not covered. Review your plan’s coverage details before making these decisions.

2. Make an Appointment

Once you find a doctor, it’s time to make your first appointment. If you’ve been scared to go to the doctor because of high costs, don’t worry. Under your health plan, preventive care like pediatric well-checks and well-woman visits are covered, so there’s no need to delay making that first appointment for yourself or your family members. If you have questions specific to your plan’s coverage options, call your insurance company before you receive any services.

3. Get Your Prescriptions Filled

The same rule applies here: If you’ve avoided filling prescription drugs in the past because of the cost, you no longer have to worry. Prescription drugs are covered as one of 10 Essential Health Benefits on current health plans. Check with your doctor and pharmacy to make sure you receive a version covered by your plan.

4. Get Help Making Healthy Choices

Have you been delaying physical therapy or talking to a mental health counselor? Have you wanted to quit smoking or lose weight but haven’t had much success on your own? Your new health plan likely has benefits that will help you pursue healthy lifestyle choices. For more information on the specific coverage available on your plan, call your insurance company.

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