With the start of a new year, it’s a great opportunity to take stock of your health and benefits to ensure this is your best, and healthiest, year yet. Consider adding the following simple, yet important, items to your to-do list this month:
- Understand your healthcare coverage. What costs are you responsible for? What is covered under your health insurance plan? Are your doctors in-network? These are all important questions to review to ensure you are using your benefits wisely and making informed decisions. Here is some helpful information about understanding health insurance.
- Confirm your providers are still in-network: With the start of a new plan year, it’s important to make sure your doctors are still in your health plan’s network. This can change from year-to-year, so call your doctor or health plan to confirm before scheduling an appointment to avoid being charged higher out-of-network fees.
- Choose a primary care provider (PCP): While having a primary care provider is necessary for some health plans, having an established relationship with a doctor is important to maintaining good health down the road, regardless of your health plan. A primary care provider can care for the majority of non-emergency needs, understands your health history, and can help manage and treat injuries, illnesses or issues requiring immediate care.
- Schedule preventive screenings: Most health plans are required to cover preventive screenings and immunizations at no cost to you, making the new year an optimal time to take advantage of this opportunity and make sure you are in good health and address any potential issues early.
- Contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA): If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, you are eligible to contribute to an HSA. The new year is a great opportunity to begin contributing to an account if you haven’t already – these funds are contributed and can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for health expenses, which can help save you a great deal of money, plus they rollover year-to-year.
- Review your emergency contact information: In the event of a health emergency, it’s critical that first responders know how to contact your friends or family members. It may be helpful to update or add an “In Case of Emergency” or ICE contact in your cell phone to help quickly identify the person you’d like them to contact. For more tips and information on this, read our post on Tips to Prepare for Emergencies.
- Be proactive: Take steps to stay healthy and possibly prevent health issues later on, including eating right, exercising, visiting the doctor regularly, and practicing healthy habits.
Taking these steps now can help ensure you have a happy and healthy 2017. Happy new year!
How Health Advocate can help
If you’re a Health Advocate member, your Personal Health Advocate can help you take many of these important steps, including confirming your doctors are in network, helping you locate a primary care provider in your area and scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss which preventive screenings may be right for you. Your Personal Health Advocate can also help you navigate a wide range of both clinical and administrative health issues, ensuring you have the tools and resources to have a healthy start to the new year.