For many New Jersey state residents, new health plan benefits began in January, so now is a good time for employees to understand their coverage so they can get the most out of their plan, stay healthier and even help save money in 2018.
Consider the following tips:
Learn the lingo – Make sure to understand basic health plan terms such as deductible, copay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. A recent UnitedHealthcare survey found that just 9 percent of Americans could successfully define all four of these important terms. Need a refresher course? If so, spend a few minutes to better understand common health insurance terms and your specific plan amounts to help you make more informed decisions.
Take advantage of wellness programs – Many health plans offer discounts for staying active, such as UnitedHealthcare’s Oxford Sweat Equity program, and provide financial incentives for completing health assessments, lowering cholesterol, meeting walking goals or even shopping for healthy foods at the grocery store. UnitedHealthcare recently launched Healthy Savings in New Jersey, a program designed to make healthy food more affordable with the potential to reduce monthly grocery bills by more than $150. Incentive-based wellness programs are designed to reward people for making healthier choices and being more engaged in improving their well-being.
Know what’s covered – You can usually find your coverage and benefits information on your insurer’s website or in plan documents so you know what’s covered and what’s not. Review this information before you start using your plan and receiving treatment so you’re not surprised by costs later.
Stay in network – Choosing doctors in your plan’s care provider network will most likely mean you’ll pay less. Also, check out 24/7 telehealth services. “Virtual visits” can help save you time and money by providing convenient access to care for certain medical issues including allergies, bronchitis and seasonal flu.
Save on medications – Make sure your medications are covered by your plan, and ask your doctor about generics to see if there’s a more affordable and equally effective alternative. Also, getting prescriptions through the mail is often a good cost-saving option. Most plans enable you to order up to a three-month supply of medication you take regularly, sometimes at a discount. Your medication will be delivered right to your home, saving you a trip to the pharmacy.
Shop around and get cost estimates – Several health insurers offer online health care tools and resources that enable you to check on the quality and cost of health care services and care providers before you make appointments. Be sure to double-check the cost with your care provider before getting treatments, as prices can vary significantly for the same procedure within the same city.
For more tips and easy-to-understand information about health care and health insurance, visit the UHC Newsroom.