Health Advocate Blog

Tips for a Healthy New Year

The New Year is right around the corner, and with it comes an opportunity to start your health off on the right foot in 2015. Healthcare and benefits can be complicated, but there are a number of things you can do to make 2015 your best, and healthiest, year yet:

  • 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, understand your health histories, and can help manage and treat injuries, illnesses or issues requiring immediate care.
  • Schedule preventive screenings: Because of the Affordable Care Act, most 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 to 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a great opportunity to begin contributing to an account if you haven’t already – these funds are contributed and can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for health expenses, which can help save you a great deal of money, plus they roll over year-to-year. If you are not eligible for an HSA, you can also contribute funds for health expenses to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). While these funds do not roll over each year, you can still contribute to the account tax-free to help offset healthcare costs.
  • 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.

Being proactive and taking these steps now can help ensure you have a happy and healthy 2015. 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.

Other Helpful Resources

To learn more, please visit any of the websites below for additional information about other suggestions for a healthy 2015 and beyond: