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5 simple ways to keep your health costs in check

They may surprise you

Whether your kid breaks a bone on the playground or you need to have your appendix removed — things happen that cause you to use your health insurance.

But, how many times have you cringed or immediately felt stressed the minute you open the bill from the hospital or your doctor? On average, Americans spend $1,233 with each hospital visit External Site — sometimes more depending on the injury or illness.

While it’s almost obvious a hospital bill can put you in a pinch, did you know there are a few other costs associated with health care that can sneak up on you as fast?

Keep these things in mind to manage your costs

The average American spends nearly 18 percent of their annual income External Site on health care costs, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. And, as those costs continue to climb, it's increasingly important to know how your health plan works and where you might be able to save money on health care expenses.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Build a relationship with a personal doctor. Research shows External Site that millennials (people born between 1981 and 1995) use more urgent care, quick clinics and telemedicine. While convenience is important, so is having a personal doctor you know and trust. When you develop a relationship with a personal doctor, he or she can get to know you and detect health problems before they are more difficult to treat.
  2. Don't skip on preventive care. It’s a fact: preventive care saves lives and is easy on the wallet. Depending on your health plan benefits, it may be available at no cost to you. And, it’s an opportunity to get all your health questions answered, stay up-to-date on your immunizations and blood tests, and build a relationship with your doctor. Just make sure to register and log in to myWellmark® Opens New Window to check your preventive care benefits. Depending on your health plan, you might need to see your personal doctor for preventive care to be covered at no cost.
  3. Watch for billing errors. When you get a bill from your health care provider, or an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from Wellmark, be sure to look it over. Why? Mistakes happen, and an error on a bill or EOB could result in additional out-of-pocket costs or even a denial in coverage.
  4. Research imaging centers. Diagnostic tests like bone density screenings, breast imaging, CT scans and MRIs are often necessary, but they come with a high price tag. Even if your doctor recommends a specific facility for a test, it is in your best interest to do a little research first. Log in to myWellmark to find costs for services and procedures based on your plan, health care provider and/or facility.
  5. Have a pharmacy home. It’s convenient to grab your prescriptions when you happen to be at the grocery or retail store. But, it’s best to have one place— a pharmacy home—where you develop a relationship with a pharmacist you trust. Ultimately, find someone who understands the prescription, over-the-counter medications and supplements you may be taking, and is as cost conscious as you are.

Stay ahead of sneaky costs with myWellmark

myWellmark is your one-stop-source for all your personalized health insurance information.

Register or log in to myWellmark Opens New Window to:

  • Find relevant information related to your specific benefits.
  • Keep track of the services you and your family have used.
  • Find an in-network doctor or provider near you.
  • Know what your visit will cost you before you go.
  • See how close you are to meeting your deductible or out-of-pocket maximums.
  • Track and organize your family’s medical expenses.

So, what are you waiting for? Registration is now easier than ever — get started today.