Because health care is different than other products and services, it can seem like you don’t have much control over where you go for care or what you’ll pay. In fact, there are several steps you can take to find the best care for the lowest possible cost.
In the past, calling your insurance company was the best way to find this kind of cost and quality information. Calling is still a great option, but an online account with your health insurance company can make it even easier to shop around for the best possible value.
If you’re a HealthPartners member, you can search your network for affordable, high-quality care, compare prices, track your spending and view your insurance plans by signing in online or using myHP for iOS and Android.
Choose doctors and providers from your health insurance network
Insurance companies often make special price agreements with health care providers who become part of that company’s network. You’ll be charged a lower price when you visit these network providers.
Insurance plans also usually cover more of the cost when you see in-network providers. So in addition to a discounted price overall, the amount you’re responsible to pay when you get care – your copay, coinsurance or deductible – is usually lower.
Most insurance company websites let you search your network online by signing into an online account.
Shop prices between doctors, clinics and hospitals
Different health care providers charge different prices. Shopping around before you have a visit, procedure or test is the best way to estimate costs and decide where to go.
Insurance companies often have online cost comparison tools. The HealthPartners tool even shows you the price you might pay, taking into account the agreements we have with network providers and how much of your bill your health plan will pay.
Choose quality health care
Cost is not the only reason to shop for health care. The most important goals are your health and well-being. Choosing highly rated and recommended health care providers can help you improve your current and future health and also prevent problems that may require costly treatment in the future.
Some health insurers, like HealthPartners, analyze data to make sure network doctors are providing high-quality care, and then display quality ratings for insurance members on their websites. This helps you find doctors and other medical experts who offer the best possible care at the best price.
Compare pharmacies and look for generic drugs
Prices for the same medicine can vary a lot between pharmacies. You can sometimes get better prices by switching pharmacies. You can also look for generic versions of medicine that give you the same results for a lower price.
HealthPartners offers members an online tool to compare prices between pharmacies, showing their insurance coverage for different medicines and offering lower price options. You can ask if your insurance company offers a similar tool.
Track your spending and health care funds
Depending on your health insurance plan, you may be eligible to set aside pre-tax funds to pay for medical expenses. Health insurance websites often let you keep track of your health care spending, see your account balances and submit requests to get reimbursed.
You have options
The bottom line is, you don’t have to accept the first price you’re given for health care costs. By shopping around you can make the best possible health and wellness options affordable for you.