No Thanks to Discounts!
Has there ever been a time you can think of that you said ‘no thanks’ to a discount and preferred to pay full price? No way, right? So why is it that we’re dedicated to being savvy consumers when it pertains to purchasing almost everything in our daily lives from electronics to cars to even groceries, but so awful at doing this very same exercise when it comes to our healthcare expenses? In fact, when it comes to healthcare consumerism, we just stink at it.
A lot of why we’re clueless has to do with just not knowing or understanding how to access better pricing. Medical insurance is a hairy beast. We know we have it, but do we really understand how to use it and what’s covered? Do we ever investigate the breadth of tools and resources our medical carrier offers us for being an enrolled member? Probably not. In not doing this, we’re saying we’re okay with paying full price and then some for our healthcare needs. It goes back to your Economics 101 class – think competitive environment and supply and demand. If we’re willing to pay top dollar for our healthcare, why would the margins on cost ever decrease and become more affordable?
It’s a lot to take in, but here are just a few helpful ideas to help you become a savvier healthcare consumer.
- Preventive care is FREE*. This is also known as your annual physical. This visit isn’t treating anything specific, but rather is a means of making sure you’re overall well. Things like blood work, immunization and even age specific tests can all be covered at 100%, provided your doctor codes these services as preventive. It’s a way to catch something early before it turns into something major. For a complete list of covered services, click here.
- Leverage carrier tools and resources. Whatever medical carrier you’re with, you likely have a treatment cost estimator tool available to you. This tool will allow you to estimate the cost for treatments and procedures so you can be more aware of what to expect and the cost variance depending on where you get treated. Example: a basic MRI at a free-standing, in-network imaging center might cost $650, but if you got that same basic MRI from your local hospital it might cost $1,800. That’s nearly a 300% cost difference!
- Use GoodRx. A no cost solution that brings about medication cost transparency. Go to www.goodrx.com, enter in your prescription information and within seconds you’re offered the best pricing on varying pharmacies near your zip code. Have a smartphone? There’s an easy to use app so you can access these savings while you’re on the go. Have a pet? You can even get discounts on their meds, too.
- Say Yes to Telemedicine. Many medical carriers now offer a way to virtually visit a doctor without ever leaving your couch for non-emergency medical issues. This is a time-saving, cost-effective solution to keeping yourself well even in the busiest times of our lives. Check with HR to see if this is a benefit available to you.
For more information, education and guidance, please contact a member of our Assurance employee benefits communication and education team.
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