Choosing healthcare can be a daunting task. Now that there is a penalty for not having insurance, the pressure is even greater. Questions like, “How much coverage do I need?” and “Which doctors can I see?” overshadow another important question: How do I get the most out of Obamacare?
If you keep these 3 simple ideas in mind, you’ll be able to navigate your healthcare choices and maybe even save some money.
Ignorance is Not Bliss
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to saving money on health care. The more you educate yourself on plan options and plan details the more you will get out of Obamacare. You need to know how much coverage you need based on your current health situation.
Once you’ve selected a plan and a provider, you need to know which doctors and hospitals are in your network. A provider in your insurance network has contracted with the insurance company to charge certain amounts for healthcare. Using out-of-network providers can potentially double the costs you incur.
You also need to know what kinds of benefits you can get for free. Yes, you can get some of your healthcare completely free of charge! Finally, you need to decide which “extras” you want to add to your healthcare. Vision and dental coverage is not required for an adult, so you’ll want to consider this when shopping for a plan.
Find a Balance
Find a balance between the premium you can comfortably afford and the amount of money you are willing to pay out-of-pocket. Premiums are the monthly amount you pay to have insurance coverage. You pay that price whether you use your insurance or not.
The higher your premium is, the less you’ll pay out-of-pocket. Out-of-pocket pay is what you owe for your medical care after insurance pays their portion.
If you don’t think you’ll have a lot of medical expenses during the year because you are generally healthy and don’t have any major medical plans such as child birth or surgery, then go for a plan with a lower premium. It will save you money in the end because you won’t be throwing money away on a high premium and you won’t be paying much out of pocket either.
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of Obamacare, knowing the rules in advance can help save you money. Nothing saves you money like taking advantage of free services. With Obamacare, there many services that are now free.
You can get free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, diabetes and HIV. You can receive free counseling for alcohol abuse, obesity and STD prevention. You can get free immunizations for Hepatitis, Flu, MMR, Meningitis and Tetanus. Women can get free care specific to their needs, like breast health, contraception and osteoporosis.
Children get free specialized care as well. For a full list of benefits, see the healthcare.gov site. Taking care of a health issue before it turns into an emergency room visit or a hospital stay will save you time and money.
Once you have armed yourself with knowledge, navigating health insurance is not so intimidating. Take charge of your healthcare, make good decisions and you will be able to get the most your of your Obamacare plan.