Submitted by Ft. Jesse Imaging & Gale Keeran Center for Women
Health insurance can feel a bit like a bad word these days. Plans are increasingly expensive, the rules are confusing, and getting answers to any questions can leave you dizzy in the insurance company phone tree. While it can be exhausting to understand, it is important to use your insurance strategically both for better health and to keep your out-of-pocket costs in check.
Know Your Health Plan
Read and understand your coverage documents each year. Oftentimes we fail to read these documents and understand how our plan may be different from one year to the next. Additionally, if your health circumstances have changed it is important to understand how that changing health picture might have an impact on your coverage. Ask questions about your health plan. Do you know where your health insurance plan will best cover labs and imaging? If you have this knowledge in advance of a doctor’s appointment, you will be prepared to advocate for yourself.
Primary Care First
An annual physical with your primary care doctor keeps you up to date on what’s going on in your body and helps you better understand what your healthcare needs might be in the coming year. Many healthy young adults fall out of the habit of seeing a primary care physician—seeking care only when under the weather with whatever provider might be available. While urgent care for immediate needs might be a good answer when you are ill, these physicians do not have a full picture of your health and don’t know you. A primary care physician has the role of seeing you over a long period of time and can see what is normal for you, understand your family history, and can help you detect issues before they become bigger concerns.
Even with a high deductible health plan, preventative care screenings should be included without co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs. Screenings for health conditions like diabetes, as well as checking cholesterol and blood pressure; breast cancer screenings; and certain immunizations should be covered expenses. Your preventative care and screenings should be part of your annual physical, but make sure to bring the topic up yourself. While there are guidelines by age, your primary care doctor will also know if you may be eligible for some types of screenings ahead of schedule due to family medical history or risk factors.
Plan Strategically to Get the Most Out of Your Insurance Plan!
You may not be able to plan for an emergency surgery, but you can certainly think about the timing of elective or bigger procedures. With most health plans being high deductible, it makes sense to time procedures around this expenditure and your family budget. Perhaps you have the full deductible in savings. If so, you might kick off the year with the larger procedure and effectively cover your entire deductible upfront. Likewise, you might prefer to use your health services throughout the year and delay an elective surgery until the end of the year when your deductible has been met.
Oftentimes, ahead of a surgical procedure, you will need lab work and imaging. Remember that using an outpatient imaging center can help to manage your overall expenses as the cost is less than a hospital. We certainly understand that health insurance plans can be stress-inducing. But if you keep in mind that your health insurance is a tool to maximize your health, you will likely put the plan to its best use.
Ft. Jesse Imaging Center, located at 2200 Ft Jesse Rd. in Normal, is the first choice for many local area surgeons because they can quickly add patients to their schedule while providing a comfortable, non-scary health environment. With global billing you only receive a single bill for the services at Ft. Jesse and outpatient imaging services can be more than 50% less than a hospital. Most health insurance plans have online cost simulators, but you can also find information about your costs right on the Ft. Jesse Imaging website.
Ft. Jesse Imaging & Gale Keeran Center for Women, is proud to offer the best rates for all of Bloomington/Normal’s diagnostic imaging needs. They offer PET/CT, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, X-ray, Mammography, Bone Density, and ABUS. With cutting-edge technology, specialty-trained radiologists, and convenient appointment scheduling, they strive to offer physicians and patients a superior experience. You may call them at 309-454-5552, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FtJesseImaging, or schedule an appointment online at www.ftjesse.com