Insurance can be confusing, but if you have 10 minutes, these two videos can help you. Take some time to watch them and if you still have questions, contact our navigators at (877) 570-3642.
So what’s the most important thing I need to do now? Here are the top four things you need to do after you’ve selected a health insurance plan:
- Pick a primary care doctor: Getting care is the reason you selected a plan in the first place. It’s important to find a doctor who can guide you to more specialized forms of care and who can answer your basic questions and provide preventative care. This is your primary doctor. Some plans, like HMOs, require you to specify a primary doctor. You need to pick a doctor and tell the insurance company who you picked.
- Schedule an appointment: Don’t wait until you get sick to get care. Talk with a doctor now about your basic health, get preventative care, and have them do blood work to make sure you’re on-track to staying healthy.
- Know Your Network: Insurance often works within a select network or group of doctors that your company wants you to use. If you go out of that network, you’ll have to pay more, sometimes the entire bill. It’s critical to know which doctors your plan works with. This information, called a directory, is required to be online and searchable. You could request a printed copy of the network, but that would be thousands of pages. Find someone who can help you search the online directory if you don’t know how. You don’t need an account, just access to the Internet to get to your insurance company’s homepage. You can also check hospitals, pharmacies and other care providers in the directory.
- Pay your bill: Unlike a lot of other services, where you can have your service suspended and turned back on (think of your cable or cell phone), health insurance requires that you pay for it each month, on-time. If you don’t do that, you can lose coverage and be stuck without coverage until the next open enrollment period. You’ll also be required to pay any amount still outstanding before you can get covered again with the same company. You’ll also lose any money you already paid toward your care and you can’t get it back. Think of health insurance like you would your mortgage or rent payment. It should be a top priority in your budget, especially since it can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have a major medical event.
For more information about health coverage, the Coverage to Care videos from the US Department of Health and Human Services will go into more detail. Choose from the links below.