In our every day lives, we run into big expenses at every turn. One of the biggest expenses, for most people, is healthcare. It seems that once people are settled in with their health plan, they forget to check often to see what might have changed and what new benefits and features might be available. This includes the financial aspect – are you getting all you should from your healthcare plan?
My husband usually deals with the healthcare sign-ups/open enrollment at his work, but I try to stay on top of the latest information by logging into our account on our healthcare’s website. There is a plethora of information about classes, studies and just general information that is helpful in our everyday lives. Our health insurance company also has classes on preventative care, healthy eating, exercising, baby care, medical conditions, recommended vaccines, support groups, and so much more. The information changes frequently, so I check back often.
Cigna has shared a few tips that are really helpful. I hope you will take a look at them and determine if you are taking full advantage of all that your healthcare plan has to offer.
PLANNING: When we hear the word “budget”, most of us think of about budgeting everyday household expenses like the mortgage, groceries, utilities, vacations, etc. but many of us don’t think about budgeting for healthcare expenses.
Take the time to spend a few hours (with your spouse if you have one!), looking over your healthcare expenses. Figure out what you have spent to-date and put some thought into what your future costs may be. An example would be: Will a family member need braces or glasses next year? If you know what your current spending habits are and if you can anticipate what your future costs may be, you should be able to budget accordingly.
BE PREPARED. Below are a few tips for making sure you are prepared when you need to make quick health-related decisions:
Know where the nearest urgent care facility is – this is SO important. Especially if you have recently moved to a new area and are unfamiliar with where these are. Urgent care facilities are much like an ER, as they provide the same quality of care for non-emergency conditions They also typically have shorter wait times and are usually less expensive!
Check your health plan to see if they offer a 24/7 nurse hotline to provide you with health-related advice around the clock.
Always keep your local pharmacy’s phone number handy. This allows prescriptions to be called in quickly, right from the doctor’s office, which saves time.
PREVENTION. If you haven’t checked out the preventative services of your health plan, now is the time! It could very well mean the difference between life and early death.
Doctor visits – make sure you see your doctor each and every year for a checkup. One really helpful idea is to make the appointment for a special date that you designate each year, specifically for this. Your health plan should have several free services too, which you should definitely take advantage of. These include nurses dieticians, who can answer questions and provide advice.
- For those “unpleasant but necessary” routine procedures, such as a colonoscopy, you and your spouse could set your appointments close to each other, so you can remind and support each other.
- Store the phone number of each family member’s doctor on your cell phone. Make sure your spouse does this as well, and your children if they are old enough. I feel safe knowing that I (and my family members) have all of the information we need right there at our fingertips, should an emergency arise.
- Make two extra copies of each child’s insurance card (both sides), and put both sides back to back and laminate it. Give one copy to your spouse (moms are typically the ones who keep the card in their purse, but dads should have one too!). Put the other copy in a file cabinet or some other safe place where you will be able to find it should you lose their card(s). You could even go one step further and make a third copy and give it to a trusted friend or family member.
- Always make sure you send a copy of your child’s health care card with whomever is watching your child – even if it is only for a few hours. We have done this since my son was little and it offers a great peace of mind when you are away from your child and they are in someone else’s care.
- Set aside a small amount of money each month specifically for unexpected health care expenses.
There is so much more to talk about – make sure you in the conversation on the Cigna YouTube channel!
Be well and stay well!
*I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Cigna. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.