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In need of a few health care hacks? Navigate your plan like a money-saving pro with these 9 insider’s tips:Network Within Your NetworkOut of network providers can charge more, and their services can require a higher deductible and higher annual limit on your out-of-pocket expenses. If you have an HMO, you'll pay the full amount of going out of network. Stay in-network when possible.Put the Super in Super-Preferred DoctorsSome health plans have extra incentives to use certain in-network doctors or facilities. These doctors and hospitals may meet guidelines for having high-quality, cost-efficient care, and you might save money by paying lower co-payments or coinsurance rates if you use those doctors.Urgent Care Center vs Emergency Room If the situation isn’t life-threatening, choose an urgent care center for lower health care costs. Not only are they cheaper, but they’re usually faster and treat a variety of conditions such as minor cuts, burns, sprains, fever, flu, joint or lower back pain, and urinary tract infections. Convenient = CheapFor sinus infections, rashes, earaches and other routine medical conditions, try a convenience care clinic at a supermarket, pharmacy or other retail store.Genuine GenericIs it time for a refill? Talk to your pharmacist or doctor first. There might be other formulary or generic drugs for you that are just as effective as the name-brand versions, at just a fraction of the cost.Under Pay for Over-the-CounterIf you have a FSA or HSA, ask your doctor to write you a prescription for any medications you use regularly, such as pain relievers, allergy medications, anti-fungals and cough-and-cold medicines. Prescription prices are usually lower than over-the-counter prices. As always, follow the plan’s process.Be a Joiner, a Quitter and a LoserBe healthier and save money at the same time! Sign up for special health and wellness programs and you may get extra cash or discounts by taking a health-risk assessment, meeting a healthy weight goal, or participating in a tobacco-cessation program. Check your plan to find out what’s available for you. You can find information about wellness programs in your online Blue Access for Members (BAM) account, or you can call us directly at the Customer Service number on the back of your Member ID card.Roll Out the Roll-Over FSASome FSAs (flexible spending accounts) allow members to roll over up to $500 in the account from one year to the next. However, be aware that not all employers allow this, so check your benefits when you enroll for the new plan year.Be Prepared to Get CardedBe sure all your benefits are up-to-date by carrying your current Member ID card with you, even if it’s a temporary one printed from Blue Access for Members. Incorrect or outdated information can cause delays in payment or you could even be affected by changes in coverage.
Now that you’re armed with all this information, are you ready to save money? Take a closer look at your benefits information by logging into BAM where you have your plan’s information at your fingertips! Sources: Kiplinger.com; The Wall Street Journal
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