9 Ways to Save on Health Care Costs

Here are few health care hacks to help you navigate your plan like a money-saving pro.

Network Within Your Network
Out of network providers can charge more, and their services can require a higher deductible and higher annual limit on your out-of-pocket expenses. If you have an HMO, you'll pay the full amount of going out of network. Stay in-network when possible.

Put the Super in Super-Preferred Doctors
Various health plans provide extra incentives to use certain in-network doctors or facilities. Some doctors and hospitals may meet guidelines for having high-quality, cost-efficient care, and you may save money by paying lower co-payments or coinsurance rates if you use those doctors.

Urgent Care Center vs Emergency Room
Visit an urgent care center for lower health care costs. Not only are they cheaper, but they’re generally faster and treat a variety of  non-life threatening conditions such as minor cuts, burns and sprains, fever and flu symptoms, joint or lower back pain, and urinary tract infections.

Convenient = Cheap
Visit a convenience care clinic at a supermarket, pharmacy or other retail store, where a clinician can treat you for sinus infections, rashes, earaches and other routine medical conditions.

Genuine Generic
Talk to your pharmacist or doctor when it’s time for a refill. There might be other formulary or generic drugs for you that are just as effective as the name-brand versions.

Under Pay for Over-the-Counter
If you have a FSA or HSA, ask your doctor for a prescription for any medications you use regularly, such as pain relievers, allergy medications, anti-fungals and cough-and-cold medicines. Be sure to follow the plan’s process.

Be a Joiner, a Quitter and a Loser
Sign up for special health and wellness programs and you may get extra cash or discounts on for taking a health-risk assessment, meeting a healthy weight goal, or participating in a tobacco-cessation program.  Check your plan to see what’s offered to you. You can find information about wellness programs in your plan's online account in Blue Access for MembersSM (BAM, or you can call us directly at the Customer Service number on the back of your Member ID card.

Roll Out the Roll-Over FSA
Some FSAs (flexible spending accounts) allow members to roll over up to $500 in the account from one year to the next.  Not all employers allow this, so check your benefits when you enroll for the new plan year.

Be Prepared to Get Carded
To make sure all of your benefits are up-to-date, you’ll want to have your Member ID card with you, even if it’s a temporary one printed from Blue Access for MembersSM. Incorrect or outdated information can cause delays in payment or you could be affected by changes in coverage.
Does all this talk about saving money make you want to take a closer look at your benefits information? Log into BAM.   

Sources: Kiplinger.com ; The Wall Street Journal

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