1. Find the Perfect Broker for your needs and let them guide you

Just like the perfect Hair Stylist or Tailor your Broker can gain an understanding of your needs and suggest plans that meet your lifestyle and budget without you having to spend hours doing it yourself.  They will explain your plan to you in plain English and answer your calls throughout the year so you don’t have to spend time on hold with an Insurance company when you have a question or an issue.  What is the difference between a Deductible and Coinsurance?  An FSA and an HRA?  The right broker for you will make sure you understand that.  A good broker will support you in setting up a Health Savings Account if your plan qualifies for it and keep you up to date on what is going on in the marketplace.

  1. Plan Ahead-Ways to Save

The best way to save money is with a High Deductible Health Plan.  If you have family members in your plan, you may want to consider a plan with an Embedded Deductible.  This is a per person per year Deductible within your Plan’s deductible.  When each family member reaches their deductible during the year all other medical expenses they have for the year is often covered by the plan anywhere between 70-100% depending on the plan design.

Having a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) without an HSA set up is like having a flashlight without batteries.  A good broker will set you up with one that is easy to use with low fees.  Make a monthly commitment to contribute to your Health Savings Account.  It’s one thing you can do now that you will thank yourself for later.

If you know that you will never realistically contribute to an HSA than a Three for Free plan may work better for you.  Each member on your plan has 3 visits per year that are paid 100% in and out of Network.

  1. Register for Websites and Apps

There are often three parties involved in your medical claims: Your Health Insurance Company, Your Provider, and the Third Party Administer for your HSA, HRA, FSA, etc. Each has their own websites and in many cases Apps for your Mobile device.  Take control of your HealthCare by registering with all 3.  This will allow you to easily keep track of how you use your plan, track, and pay bills.

  1. Take Advantage of Wellness Programs and Discounts

On your Health Insurance Carrier’s website, you will find a list of programs and services you can utilize such as discounts at Gym Memberships, Weight Loss programs, meal planning support, and smoking cessation programs.  These programs encourage you to be a good steward of your Health Care as well as support a better quality of life for you and your family.

  1. Use Telemedicine whenever possible

Most Health plans have an option to talk to a nurse or doctor from the comfort of your home on your phone and/or through video conferencing.  There is often a nominal fee of $40-70 depending on your plan every time you use the service.  This is far less expensive and more convenient than a visit to Urgent Care.  If you have small children or find yourself using your Telemedicine option often it probably is worth getting a monthly subscription to a Telemedicine plan like Healthiest You.  It is $15 per month for a family for unlimited access to care through their smartphone application.  They also compare prescription prices and common services among providers in your area. Healthiestyou

  1. You don’t have to except bills that don’t make sense

Just like with any complicated product such as Health Insurance sometimes there is a glitch or misunderstanding.  Review your bills and match them up with your Explanation of Benefits carefully.  If you feel your plan did not cover something it should have, call your broker to go through the appeals process.  It is not as fussy as it sounds if you have a dedicated Broker in your corner.

  1. Cover your risk beyond Health Insurance

Medical events often produce unexpected expenses that your Health Insurance plan would never cover such as lost wages weather it’s your receiving care or a family member you are missing work to support.  In addition to traditional Short Term Disability, there are a variety of cash indemnity programs in the Marketplace that pay you a cash benefit for covered events your plan is designed for.  If you are 45 or older start planning for Long Term Care.  Health Insurance does not cover long term Nursing Home stays and Home Health Care.  A new law that was passed in MN last year has made Long Term Care Insurance more affordable for Minnesotans.

Check out this info-graphic: 

ER or Urgent Care?