Once you’ve enrolled in a new health care plan and you receive your member ID in the mail, a new chapter of your health care journey is ready to begin. It’s important to set yourself up for success.
Having a thorough understanding of your plan, network and benefits can go a long way. And you can start right now! Here’s how you can take advantage of your health insurance benefits and better manage costs.
1. Review your plan online
If your insurance company gives you access to your online account, set it up as soon as possible – usually once you receive your member ID number. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the platform, search for in-network health care providers and use cost calculators and other tools to make money-saving decisions. More importantly, you can get a refresher on the important details of your plan, such as:
- How much you’ll have to pay before your plan starts to help (your deductible)
- What fees you’ll pay for going to the doctor and filling prescriptions (copays)
- The absolute most you’d have to pay for covered care this year (your out-of-pocket maximum)
Review the list of services your plan covers (your “Summary of Benefits and Coverage”) so you know what you’ll have to pay for specific services like counseling or surgeries. There might even be information in there about services you didn’t realize were covered.
2. Save your support team’s contact information
Your support team is an important part of your care. Save your insurance company’s key phone numbers, like member services and the nurse advice line. This way it’s easier to reach them when you need guidance or answers.
Some apps and websites have support team emails listed that you can add to your email contacts or even designated chat functions or pages you can bookmark for future access. If possible, make sure to note hours of operation, so you know when you’re most likely to reach a support team member.
3. Choose an in-network doctor
We know how important it is to have a doctor you know and trust collaborating with you on your care. However, sometimes when you switch plans, your network changes. Sign in to your account, and find the doctor or network search tool. Check whether your current doctor is covered by your insurance. If not, look for a new doctor who’s part of your network.
4. Make a plan for potential providers
Sometimes health issues sneak up on us – you never know when you’ll need to get some quick medical advice or take a trip to the closest urgent care or emergency room. Going to care providers in your network can help mitigate cost.
It’s better to prepare in advance. To get started, contact your insurance company, and your team will help you figure out where to go or who to contact. Once you get this information, store it in your phone or address book. This way if you have a question you want to ask or you need to get to urgent care quickly, you'll have all the information you need.
5. Ask about perks and benefits
From gym discounts to help managing your asthma, your health insurance company may do more than just help pay for your care. Don’t miss out on any of those additional perks. Sign in to your member account or call member services to find out what they offer. Common perks include:
- Discounts on vision and hearing services
- Gym memberships
- Traveling assistance
- Wellness programs
- Mental and behavioral health services
- Telemedicine visits
You're reading the "Getting started with your plan" series.
Have a health plan but not sure what to do next? This series can help you get started.
Part 1: How to get the most out of your health insurance
Part 2: How to figure out what your health insurance plan covers
Part 3: 8 questions to ask before setting up your HSA