New Year, New Health Insurance

The new year can mean lots of changes. Some people will change their diets and exercise routines. Some will resolve to quit smoking. Still others may simply try to cut back on how many pots of coffee they drink per day (*ahem*). Whatever changes you are incorporating into your life, here are some things to remember about a change you might not think about at all.

Many employers change or update their insurance plans effective with the new year. This could mean an increase or decrease in your deductible, coinsurance, copayments or other out of pocket expenses. It is important to notify your physician’s office of any insurance changes that have occurred. If you’ve received a new card, bring it with you to your appointment so it can be added to your record even if your insurance company stayed the same. (And if you are new to our office, remember to bring your photo ID, too.)

A new insurance could also mean a new referral is needed. Pay close attention to the requirements of your plan. A referral under one plan will not carry over to the coverage period of your new plan, even if it had unused visits and was not expired yet. Our staff may ask if you’ve gotten a referral from your primary care physician when you make your appointment with our office. Be proactive in your healthcare needs by taking care of this before your visit.

Make sure you have a current benefit plan summary booklet from your insurance company or better yet, check to see if you can access your plan benefits online. Most insurance companies offer members a great deal of information on their websites after a quick registration, including provider directories, cost of care estimates and a look at your processed claims. Some insurances even have nifty apps for that android or iPhone of yours.

If you have a cost share payment fund that helps pay your deductible and coinsurance, like an HSA, HRA or FSA (have we missed any acronyms there?), you should find out if those funds pay directly to the physician’s office or directly to you. If they pay directly to you, our office can be sure to provide you with the documentation you will need to submit for your reimbursement.

Keeping these few simple things in mind as you move along in the new year will help keep your pocketbook and wallet as healthy as possible. Now, how about a refill on the pot of coffee…

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