For many, this time of year is one full of new changes and challenges. And for a good majority of the population, this is also the season of open enrollment for benefits either through work or the individual space.
Here are five quick, easy recommendations for things you can do quickly that will help make your life easier in 2022.
1. Locate local in-network pharmacies and urgent care locations
We never know when something might happen that catches us off guard. That slip and fall where you sliced your hand open, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t breathe and need some medicine. Whatever do we do?
In a situation like this, it’s already stressful enough. Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew exactly where you should go because you had planned ahead? Here are the items you should research:
- Closest in-network pharmacies to your work and home
- Closest in-network urgent care centers to your work and home
- If you have kids and the school(s) is not close to your home or work, find the closest pharmacy and urgent care to their school as well.
- Closest 24/7 pharmacy to your home
Regarding that last bullet, remember, not all pharmacies are open all hours, so this can be helpful for that middle of the night cough or sinus infection.
2. Get your telemedicine visit portals set up and download the app if one is available
Nowadays, just about every health insurance provider has a telemedicine benefit built-in. A good number of employers are providing direct access to telemedicine providers as well, usually with no cost to use the service. Regardless of your option, get it set up before you need it. Setup over the phone can be 10 – 15 minutes if you have a family that you need to set up, and it’s less than five if you do it online or through the app. ahead of time.
Remember, telemedicine is a great option if / when those middle-of-the-night issues pop up. One call or video chat, and you can usually get a prescription to help with whatever the issue is. You will have saved time AND money by avoiding any physical doctor visit.
3. Confirm network status of your favorite providers
Unfortunately, companies and people do tend to change insurance plans from time to time. This is typically driven by a rate increase from some evil health ins. company. I kid, but the reality is that this is oftentimes financially motivated.
If this has happened to you, check with your doctor’s offices or your insurance provider’s website and make sure all of your favorite doctors are still in-network. If they are NOT, you need to consider either finding someone who is IN the network or continuing to see the same provider but paying out of pocket. You will have saved time AND money by avoiding any physical doctor visit or worse, a super expensive visit to the ER.
4. Download the apps on your phone for any / all benefit providers
Most people today cannot live without their phones. We all see it, and some of us (myself included) know this is a fact for them personally. So, let’s take that smartphone to the next level and also turn it into a superpowered benefits machine. By downloading any available apps from your health, dental, telemedicine provider, etc., you no longer have to worry about ID cards. You now have the ability to see your personal claims history, search doctors, pull up an ID card, all on your phone with a few clicks.
5. Double-check that your information is accurate in the ins. provider’s system(s)
Most wouldn’t be surprised by this, but even in this day and age of innovation and technology, there are many, many hands and systems that touch a benefits enrollment. This system feeds to the pharmacy system, which makes filling prescriptions real-time, and this system feeds to the outsourced telemedicine vendor, etc. I could go on and on. With all the different systems and people involved, there is a possibility for error, especially if your HR department or someone at the insurance company office is hand keying information into any systems.
By checking your enrollments, date of birth, family member’s info, etc., you are helping eliminate any claims issues that may occur later. If your SSN or date of birth is off by one digit, guess what happens when a doctor tries to verify benefits or file a claim?
You probably guessed it. You’ll be told you are not covered and don’t have benefits. Claims systems are mostly automated today, so one date or digit off and the claims cannot process. This can be frustrating and, if not discovered until there is a problem, can sometimes take a good week or so to fix. Take a look at your ID cards and make sure everyone’s name is spelled correctly, and after you get those apps downloaded as we discussed above, double-check SSNs and date of births as well. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you do end up finding any errors. This will save a LOT of headaches down the road.
Remember, you can plan on failing if you fail to make a plan. We hope you got some good ideas from us for your upcoming benefit plan years. As always, we appreciate you reading and hope everyone has a great start to 2022. Stay safe out there!