Manage Your Costs

When it comes to health care costs, knowing how your health plan works, doing your homework, and being willing to take a few simple steps can have a big impact on your wallet. Print out this page and keep it handy!

Reduce Health Risks

  • Change unhealthy habits. You know about the dangers of smoking, drug and alcohol use, an unhealthy diet and not exercising enough. These habits can endanger your health. Meanwhile, the preventable problems they cause can cost you a lot of money. The new Healthy Lifestyles Program can help you reduce stress, stop smoking, lose weight and get in shape.
  • Schedule regular preventive care. Regular preventive care visits can uncover medical risks before they become bigger, more expensive health problems.

Get the Most from Your Medical and Dental Plans

  • Understand how your medical and dental plans work. Get the facts about how your expenses are covered. That way, you’ll know what to do before an illness or injury occurs. You can get detailed information from your health plan, along with answers to your questions.
  • Use in-network providers. Your out-of-pocket costs are lower when you use in-network doctors, hospitals and other facilities—because they provide services at discounted rates.
  • Know your family history and share it with your doctor. Many common diseases have a genetic link. Your doctor can provide better care knowing if these diseases run in your family.
  • Ask if you truly need the health care service and why. Doctors often have several options to choose from when they decide on the treatment that’s right for you—options that can be equally effective. If you decide to go ahead with the treatment, ask about the lowest-cost way to get the care you need.
  • Get a second opinion. If your doctor recommends elective surgery, consider getting a second opinion or calling your health plan’s 24-hour Nurseline.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions. Once you get a treatment plan from your doctor, follow the instructions carefully. For example, don’t stop taking antibiotics simply because you feel better. Not following your doctor’s instructions can lead to the illness’s return.
  • Use the emergency room only for true emergencies. Emergency copayments and bills can be very costly, so avoid using the emergency room for flu, fevers, colds, etc. If you’re not sure if your situation is a true emergency, call your doctor for advice. You can also call your health plan’s 24-hour Nurseline for advice at any time.
  • Ask about over-the-counter or generic alternatives. The amount you pay for prescriptions depends on whether the drug is a generic or brand name. Your costs will be lower if you choose a generic drug, but the effectiveness in treating your condition will be the same. In some cases, an over-the-counter medication may also be effective—and less expensive—than a prescription.
  • Request a preferred brand-name drug when a generic isn’t available. If a generic isn’t available, ask your doctor to prescribe a brand-name drug on the preferred drug list. When you use brand drugs on this list, the plan will pay the maximum brand-name drug benefit, so you’ll pay less. Your out-of-pocket costs will be higher if you use a non-preferred brand-name drug.