WILMINGTON, Del., Jan. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- You can help lower your out-of-pocket health care costs by understanding what your health plan covers, what it does not cover and how to make the most of every dollar spent on health care and health insurance.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware (BCBSD) offers these suggestions to help you optimize your health care budget this year:
- Stay in-network. Make sure your doctor(s), laboratory and hospital are a part of your health plan's provider network so you save on copays and coinsurance amounts.
- Have a referral. Before you see a specialist, check to see if you need a referral and, if so, find out how to request one. Without a referral, you may have to pay for services at the full out-of-pocket cost.
- Use alternatives to emergency services. A visit to the hospital emergency department is generally unnecessary for issues such as the flu, minor cuts and sprains, or urinary tract infections. Overall costs are usually lower at medical aid units (MAUs) and urgent care centers. Check your health plan's provider directory for an MAU nearby.
- Consult with your physician about alternative surgical locations. Depending on your health condition, you may be able to schedule your elective surgery at an ambulatory surgical center (ASC).
- Take the tests. Receive the screenings, tests, vaccines and other care that your plan covers, as recommended by your doctor. When you and your family stay healthy, you can avoid doctor's visits and time off from work.
- Take your medicine. To receive the full benefit of your medicine, remember to take the recommended dosage for as long as your doctor prescribes it. People who take their medicine(s) as prescribed need less health care — and less expensive care. If you don't understand how to take your medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Find the best price for the medication you need. Always ask if a generic prescription drug or an over-the-counter (OTC) drug would be best for you. Some generics are up to 80 percent less expensive than brand names, and also have the lowest copays. For any brand-name drug, research the manufacturer before you fill the prescription. Then check its website for any discount coupons or free copay programs that may be available for that drug.
- Use your health flexible spending account (FSA) dollars. If you don't use the money that you have contributed to your account, you'll lose it at the end of the year.
High-quality care is not always the most expensive care, so it pays to know how to receive the best for less. Visit bcbsde.com and click on How insurance works under Feature Connections for even more cost-saving ways to help keep you and your family healthy in the New Year.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. With more than 75 years of service, BCBSD offers a comprehensive portfolio of health benefits products to nearly 395,000 customers. BCBSD is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. More information about BCBSD is available at bcbsde.com.
Manager, Public Relations
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware