52 THE QUEENS COURIER • HEALTH • DECEMBER 5, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
5 tips for better health care - and lower costs
For many people, the beginning of
the year is a customary time to assess
their health and fi nances. And for most
Americans, new health plan benefi ts have
kicked in. Do you know how your health
plan works? If not, now is an ideal time to
learn how to make it work for you.
Rebecca Madsen, chief consumer offi -
cer of UnitedHealthcare, off ers the following
fi ve tips that may lead you to better
health and even help save you money.
1. Understand your plan
You may be able to save yourself a lot of
time, stress and money if you take time to
understand your plan before you need to
use your benefi ts. Learn what your health
plan covers - including medical, pharmacy
and preventive benefi ts. When in
doubt, call the number on your health
plan ID card to get the most up-to-date
It’s also a good time to make sure you
understand common health plan terms,
such as deductible, copay and coinsurance.
2. Ask about lower
Talk to your doctor about the cost of
your medication. Th ey may be able to help
fi nd the most aff ordable option for you.
Many doctors are now using technology
like PreCheck MyScript that enables them
to view precise medication costs in real
time before leaving the exam room.
You may be surprised to learn that
generic medications are oft en more
aff ordable than their brand-name equivalents.
In addition, some pharmacy benefi
t plans now off er discounts at the point
of sale in the form of rebates, also known
as a partial refund, from pharmacy manufacturers.
Th ese discounts could potentially
lower your out-of-pocket costs on
3. Stay in-network
You can help keep costs down by staying
in-network for your health care services.
Your insurance company has contracted
with certain health care providers
to pay a certain amount of money for
your visits, usually at a discounted rate.
Because of those discounts, you pay less
when you see a health care provider within
the network versus one who’s outside
For out-of-network providers, your
insurance may cover only a fraction of
the cost of care - or none at all - depending
on your plan. Before you make your
next appointment, check with your health
plan to make sure the provider or facility
is in network.
4. Know your care options
before you go
If your health issue isn’t an emergency,
it’s usually best to go to your primary
care doctor for care. Your doctor knows
you and your health history, can easily
access your medical records, can take care
of many health needs, provide follow-up
care and refer you to specialists.
If it’s not possible to visit your regular
doctor, you may be able to receive
fast, professional and lower cost care at
an urgent care center, a convenience care
clinic or an online doctor visit. Online
doctor visits are a great option for treating
conditions such as colds, migraines
and allergies. Online visits may cost as low
as $40 or $50 per visit, much less than a
trip to urgent care or an emergency room.
5. Take advantage of wellness
discounts and incentives
Many health plans now off er fi nancial
incentives that reward you for taking
healthier actions, such as completing
a health survey, exercising or not using
An increasing number of employers are
off ering wellness discounts and incentive
based wellness programs to help their
employees improve their health. Th ese
initiatives may also lead to increased
employee satisfaction, productivity and
For more tips and easy-to-understand
information about health care, visit the
UnitedHealthcare Newsroom at newsroom.
— Courtesy BPT