A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

10 ways to be a wise health care consumer

Illustration – Understanding basic insurance lingoWhen it comes to your heart health, knowledge is power. Start with helpful information to become an advocate for your heart. Read this story, one of our favorites, or visit Marshfield Clinic Health System cardiology.

No one knows you better than you do, so be your own best advocate when making health care decisions.

10 tips to remember:

  1. Seeing in-network doctors can save you out-of-pocket costs.
    • Know if the plan you’re considering lists your doctor as “in-network.”
  2. Choose a health plan that includes your preferred providers for specialty, urgent and hospital care.
    • Health problems can arise after hours and on weekends or may require seeing a specialist. When possible, using providers or facilities in-network can save you money.
  3. Some prescribed medications may have lower-cost versions available.
    • Choose a plan that includes ongoing medications for you or your family at the lowest possible cost and with convenient pharmacy services.
  4. Deductibles, copays, co-insurance and non-covered services are all out-of-pocket costs.
    • Compare these costs between health insurance plans you’re considering.
  5. Take care of yourself and get the most from your health plan by staying active, choosing healthy foods and scheduling appropriate health screenings and vaccinations. For more information, read:
  6. Make the most of appointments by preparing questions for your provider.
  7. Follow prevention guidelines to help your doctor spot problems early.
  8. Use covered free preventive benefits to help you stay healthy.
  9. Ask your health care provider about cost estimates for planned specialty care, diagnostic services and procedures.
  10. Ask your employer if flexible spending dollars can be carried into the next year.

You don’t have to be an expert about health care, but:

  • Know who to ask for help. Tap into people who can answer your questions and keep you informed about your health.
  • Include your doctor, pharmacist and health insurance provider. Expect answers you can understand and information you can use.
  • Talk to your health care provider team. They are there to help you understand your care.

If you’re a Marshfield Clinic patient, you can communicate with your doctor by sending a secure message within your My Marshfield Clinic account.

When you’re making decisions about your health care, it’s OK to put yourself first.

Do you have to pay a fee for not having health insurance coverage?

You must pay a fee if you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it.

2019 Open Enrollment is over. Learn more.

Download this checklist about information needed to enroll in the Marketplace.

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You’re just getting started as an advocate for your heart. Read our other favorite stories – Top Tips Your Heart Will Love – or visit Marshfield Clinic Health System cardiology for more.

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