|There is a lot changing in the health insurance industry, and not being aware will hit your wallet.Here are some reminders and hints that you might find useful :
- Always check to be sure your providers participate in your plan’s network.
- Preauthorize anything that is not a routine physical. Providers may have done this for you in the past, but many are now making a “cursory” effort at best.
- Become aware of the difference in cost between free-standing providers and those affiliated with a hospital system. The cost of billing through the hospital system is often much greater than those of independent providers.
- Be prepared for phone calls from your insurance company offering help locating less expensive provider options.
- More services are being broken out from office visit copay costs. Be aware that you may receive bills for services which used to be part of an office visit copay.
- Look at “cash” prices for services. Some hospital systems are approaching patients in imaging and lab settings offering a cash price in lieu of filing insurance. These cash costs could prove much lower than insurance deductibles.
- Prescription costs are rising faster than any other part of the health care industry resulting in greater restrictions in the drugs available and their reimbursement rates. We recommend the following :
- check to be sure you are taking generic medications where appropriate. The cost difference can be large.
- If you are taking compound drugs, compare them to the option of breaking out the individual drugs and taking them separately. Is taking the separate drugs an option? How great is the cost of convenience offered by compounding the drug?
- When drugs are extremely expensive or not covered, consider discount cards like www.simplesavingscard.com which offer significant savings off retail costs. Also, ask your doctors for samples as they often have many available. Additionally, your doctors and pharmacists may have suggestions of other reduced cost options or foundations that will help with very expensive medications.
Please share with us any personal experiences that we might add to this growing list.