This article was last updated on Dec. 29, 2020.
Living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for 78 percent of U.S. workers External Site. The stress and uncertainty is putting their health at risk. Being in a poor financial state impacts overall well-being in more ways than one, and leads to poor decision-making, like skipping out on medical exams or health insurance coverage.
On average, Americans spend $1,233 with each hospital visit External Site — sometimes more depending on the injury or illness. So it's no wonder that, according to a Gallup poll External Site, 25 percent of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost.
Instead of delaying the health care you need, use your health care coverage wisely. Do a little homework and let us help up-front with the tips, below.
Keep these things in mind to manage your health care 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:
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.
When choosing a personal doctor (or any doctor for that matter), it's important to see a doctor in your health plan's provider network. Some health plans don't have out-of-network benefits other than in emergency situations, so it's important to know your network before you go. To check, simply register or log in to myWellmark® Opens New Window to find out which doctors are in your health plan's network.
Don't skip on preventive care
It’s a fact: preventive care leads to better health outcomes. That's because your doctor can help identify health conditions in their early stages when they are easier and less costly to treat. Depending on your health plan benefits, preventive care 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 to check your preventive care benefits Opens New Window. Depending on your health plan, you might need to see your personal doctor for preventive care to be covered at no cost.
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. If your claim didn't pay correctly or how you expected, be sure to:
- Contact Wellmark Customer Service. Use the phone number on the back of your ID card or submit a question through myWellmark Opens New Window.
- Talk to your provider. Talk to a billing specialist about your claim.
- File a claims appeal. If you don't agree with a benefit decision, you have the right to file a claims appeal Opens New Window. This must be done within 180 days of when the claim was processed.
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 Opens New Window based on your plan, health care provider and/or facility.
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.
- 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.
- Pay your Wellmark bill online, depending on your health plan.
So, what are you waiting for? Registration is now easier than ever — get started today.
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