Posts tagged: health insurance

Health Consciousness and Insurance Rates

money invest for healthDid you know that being smarter about your health can directly affect your health care costs? It’s true! Lower health care literacy has been linked to unnecessary over treatment, fewer scheduled preventative services, and higher hospitalization rates, all of which increase your health care costs and put you at greater risk. In the following article, we review the types of behaviors associated with having a high health literacy and how these behaviors save people money on their insurance rates.

They Learn to Advocate for Themselves

Those of us who are health conscious are smart enough to know which treatments and medications we need and which ones are unnecessary. These unnecessary treatments, including over prescribed medications, fall under a term called “overutilization.” Overutilization occurs when health care is provided at a higher volume than necessary or at a higher cost than is appropriate to the treatment. In other words, if patients don’t have high health care literacy, they may not be able to advocate for themselves and refuse excessive or redundant tests or treatments.

In fact, overutilization is such a problem in health care that the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now known as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), estimates that 30 percent of US health care expenditures are a waste of money. Of that percentage, the IOM estimates $210 billion stems from unnecessary health care services.

They Schedule Regular Doctors Visits and Use ER Sparingly

Those with high health literacies tend to go to the doctor regularly, which helps them understand their current health status better than those with lower health literacies. This helps them avoid the common traps of overutilization, which we see in doctors over-prescribing medications (such as antibiotics for upper respiratory infections), excessive imaging services, unnecessary surgeries, excessive stress tests, and emergency-room visits for symptoms normally seen at a person’s doctor’s office. Many of these instances of overutilization can be avoided if a patient fully understands his or her health status and the full range of treatment options available. For example, rather than visit the ER for suspected strep throat, a health-literate patient would hold off and schedule an appointment with his or her family doctor. Doing so not only helps you save money, but also reduces the overall costs of healthcare for everyone.

They Take Advantage of Preventative Services

Health conscious patients take their health seriously. They schedule physicals with their primary care provider annually, make other appointments when necessary, and live a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent health problems later in life. Unfortunately, even if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle, if you’re not keeping your annual doctor’s appointments, you may still be part of the problem that drives up health care costs.

The yearly physical is often included in insurance plans free of charge because it’s such an essential part of keeping insurance rates down. Preventative services like these can spot illnesses and risk factors early, long before they have a chance to develop into life-threatening concerns. Too often, we hear of cancer patients who didn’t know they were sick until they were diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and while many cancers do indeed grow quickly, preventative services have a better chance of spotting them before it’s too late for treatment.

As a health-conscious consumer, you should adhere to your doctor’s recommended visits and consider other areas that positively impact your overall health, such as dental, vision, and physical therapy services. Staying on top of these areas of health ensures you save money on health care costs and don’t strain the system.

Keeping Your Insurance Rates Down

The reality is, many Americans don’t spend enough time researching health insurance benefits options before choosing their plan. Those with higher health literacy will compare their options, perform research beyond the packet their employer has provided for them, ask questions to get a clear picture of what’s included in each insurance plan, and get their questions answered by an expert in the field to make sure they are getting the right insurance plan for them. The same can be said for life insurance.

Health IQ celebrates health conscious consumers by extending special rates on life insurance to those who deserve it most. When you’ve spent a lifetime eating right, exercising, keeping up with your annual physicals, and doing your best to stay healthy, statistics say you should live longer than the average American. Naturally, this means enjoying special rates on term life insurance.

If you’re already a health conscious consumer, enlist the help of an expert to find the right insurance plan for you and your family. Our services are particularly beneficial to endurance athletes and strength trainers with low resting heart rates and muscular builds. Muscular builds can mean having an increased body mass index (BMI) that puts you over a weight limit for discounted health insurance rates, but we take these things into account at Health IQ. Simply verify your activity level to qualify.

Being health conscious has many benefits, so why not reap the rewards? Contact Health IQ to see how much you can save.

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Health Insurance Tips to Use All Year

health insurance protectionEverybody has heard the saying “health is wealth”. While it is true that good health is something that money cannot buy, access to funds can certainly give you the best medical care. Life is uncertain and despite all your safeguards, accidents and diseases can strike without warning. It is therefore prudent to make arrangements for the wellbeing of yourself and your family, well in advance.

Medical costs today are prohibitive, making the need for sudden treatment or hospitalization a huge financial burden. If you are not covered under a health plan, you may find yourself in a difficult situation and can end up depleting your savings.

Benefits of Health Insurance

Financial stability – Medical costs are increasing at a rapid pace. In case of hospitalization, you will have to incur several expenses, such as doctors’ fees, diagnostic tests, medications, and lots more. If you have to pay for these, you may end up spending all your savings. When you have purchased the best health insurance coverage, all these expenses are paid for by the insurer.

Avail the best medical care – Many people who are not covered under a health plan often compromise on the quality of care they receive. However, with adequate health insurance, you can focus on receiving the best medical care and recover earlier. Most insurers offer a wide network of hospitals, which gives you the additional benefit of cashless hospitalization.

Tax benefits – In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, individuals can avail of tax benefits on the premium paid for purchasing the health insurance policy. Under section 80 D of the Income Tax Act, premium up to INR 25,000 per annum is tax deductible. An amount of INR 30,000, paid as premium for senior dependent parents covered under these health plans, is tax deductible under this section.

Tips to Avail the Best Plan

• Individuals must pay their monthly premiums on time to ensure the benefits under the health insurance plans remain valid throughout the policy term.

• If you receive any message asking for additional information and/or documentation, it is important that you submit the same quickly to avoid loss of coverage.

• It is also important to pay your renewal premium in a timely manner to continue enjoying the different benefits available under the insurance coverage.

If you follow these simple tips diligently, you can be sure to reap the benefits of your health insurance policy. Do not wait for a health crisis to learn more about health insurance.

Know more about health insurance tips at 5 Paisa Insurance

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Managing Your Medical Bills

Medical expensesAny person, who has ever undergone a major surgery or was forced to spend several nights in a hospital bed, will likely remember the mountain of paperwork they had to fill out, in order to ensure their insurance coverage would be effective at the time of the procedure. At the same time, health insurance policies can be very complicated, and it is not uncommon for many individuals to be confused by their insurance provider’s explanation of benefits. Oftentimes, it is not until several weeks – or even months – later, when all medical bills are forwarded to the patient, that paperwork errors are finally discovered. Unfortunately, it usually also becomes more challenging to correct these errors after the bills have already been processed by your insurance provider. However, you may still be able to fix any discrepancies, as long as you keep a good record of all the procedures, tests and other medical services that were provided. In addition, there are several great tools that can make the process of managing all of your medical bills a lot easier and far less time-consuming.

  • Managing your Medical Bills: Errors, Clerical Mistakes and other Discrepancies

According to the Medical Billing Advocates of America, as many as 80% of all medical bills contain errors and mistakes that ultimately lead to higher bills, as well as higher insurance premiums. The mistakes can range from double-billing for individual procedures, charging for exams with contrast when none was used, and even decimal point mistakes that convert a minor $100.00 dollar charge to a major $1000.0 expense. Furthermore, these mistakes will very rarely occur to the advantage of the patient, and hospital accounting staff members seems to be far more diligent when it comes to catching errors that go against their employer’s best interest. Consequently, checking the bills for clerical errors is the first, and the most important step of managing your medical bills.

  • Claims, Billing Statements, and Explanation of Benefits: What is the Difference?

Currently, when any medical service is provided to a patient that has health insurance, the billing is usually forwarded directly to the insurance provider that settles the claim, and the patient may – or may not – receive a billing summary from the insurer. However, the summary will only serve as the explanation of covered benefits, and will not be the bill itself. For example, if your insurance decides not to cover certain procedures, they may notify you about it, but you will not be liable for any remaining balance until you receive another bill directly from the medical provider. However, it is still important to check the bill received by your insurance company for any errors, and you should request a statement listing all of the services provided on the specific date in question. You should then compare this list against the report you receive from your insurer, checking for any discrepancies in terms of care received or dollar amounts charged. It is also important to keep these statements together with your personal medical record, in case you need to dispute any claims several months after the medical services have been rendered.

  • Taking Advantage of Online Services Provided by your Health Insurance Company

Many health insurance providers in the United States including all the major providers, now offer online services to their clients that allow them to check the status of their claims from their home computers. In most cases, you will first need to make an online account using the insurance information from your card. Once that is all done, you will be able to access the list of currently pending claims, as well as those that have already been settled with the medical provider. However, you must realize that it can often take several weeks for the provider to notify your insurance about any services you have received, and the claim information will not be immediately available.

  • Other Management Tools Available Online

In addition to the services provided directly by your medical insurance company, there are several apps that can help you manage your medical bills. One of the more popular ones is Simplee – a free online service that can act as a database of medical records, claims and other insurance information. The service is also able to automatically spot errors such as duplicate entries, or eligibility issues, as well as predict your insurance coverage for specific treatments. Although the service was introduced only two years ago, it has rapidly grown in popularity, and – especially considering its automatic error detection – its number of users is only expected to further increase in the future.

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