One of the main elements of becoming an educated consumer is knowing your health insurance plan. Nowadays, most insurance plans have some sort of deductible you must meet before your benefits kick into gear. Whether that deductible is high or low, there are certain rules to follow so that you meet and pay it correctly. Taking care to efficiently meet your health insurance deductible will help ensure that your benefits are paid to the fullest.
Things You'll Need
- Health insurance plan booklet
Call your health insurance company or read your plan booklet to see what type of deductible you have to meet. Some plans have deductibles only for surgical procedures or hospital visits. Others have deductibles for every single type of health care you receive. You should know the requirements of your plan before you start each year.
Visit doctors who are in your preferred network. Most insurance companies have a list of doctors and hospitals that will give you the best benefits. If you stay in this network, your deductible will probably be smaller than if you travel outside to another doctor.
Take your family members to the doctor when they are ill. Many health insurance plans have family deductibles. If there are four people in your family, for example, and each person has a $300 deductible, there might also be a family deductible. Some plans say that a $300 deductible must be paid for each person or that a $900 family deductible must be met. That is a potential savings of $300.
Open your mail and pay attention to the explanation of benefits sent from your health insurance company. Every time you use your insurance, the health insurance company will send you an explanation of benefits. This shows what the health care provider charged, what was allowed, what was paid by insurance and what you owe. It also indicates whether the amount you owe goes toward your deductible.
Pay the health care provider the exact amount shown on the explanation of benefits. If there is a discrepancy, call the health care provider immediately to resolve the issue. Your insurance company must know every penny you have to pay so it can apply the appropriate amount toward your deductible.
Tips & Warnings
- Many plans have an emergency room deductible that can never be met. You may have to pay a $50 or $100 deductible, on top of your regular deductible, every time you visit the emergency room.
- Don't wait until the bills pile up to pay your deductible. Not only will your deductible become more difficult to budget, it could go against your credit score.
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