The Benefit of Planning for Good Health
Tips of navigating health insurance plans to help save time and money.
As the old saying goes, “What you pay attention to, grows.” That’s the logic behind making a New Year’s resolution: When you start paying attention to something, you can make it happen. This includes health goals. Have you made one yet? It always pays to recognize the value of your health and focus on your health goals.
“You need to prioritize your health as if it is a shift at your job,” advised Rogelio Peña, Equality Health’s Director of Clinical Outreach Solutions. “If you’re not taking care of your health, you’re not going to be there for your kids or the job. You have to stay healthy in order to survive.”
A good start to staying healthy is discovering what’s in your health insurance plan. Your health insurance plan may include free benefits and possible rewards that can help you reach your health goals.
Discover Your Benefits
Let’s say your health goal for 2022 is to lose weight but you’ve always had trouble in the past. Or maybe you’re diabetic and want to manage your diet. You may be pleasantly surprised how your health insurance plan can help make your goals happen.
“A lot of people don’t think they can start or stick to an exercise regimen because they can’t afford a gym membership,” Peña explained, “or they can’t manage their diabetes because they can’t get home-delivered meals. But you do have these benefits available to you if you’re on Medicaid or Medicare and some employer-based insurance plans may offer them too.”
“There are a lot of benefits people don’t take advantage of which may include discounts,” Peña added. “Even if it’s just covering medications, that’s a support. It’s something to support you to help manage your health.”
To discover your plan’s benefits, Peña suggested to first figure out what company provides your health insurance plan. Then get the number for their member services department. You can get that information from your insurance membership card, your doctor or the Equality Health Care Team.
“The cool thing is that every single health insurance plan has a member services department,” Peña said, “which no one typically calls unless it’s to complain. But they’re actually there waiting to help members learn about their benefits and possible discounts or the urgent care in their neighborhood, or help them find a new doctor if they don’t have one established yet.”
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
One benefit most health insurance plans’ offer is a free annual well visit. True: No one wants to go the doctor and find out something’s wrong. But on the other hand, proactively managing your health is a great way to stay healthy longer and live a better quality of life. It may even save you and your family time and money in the long run.
“There is lots of evidence and data that shows if you do preventative work,” said Peña, “you do see the benefits years and years later. In the Medicaid and Medicare space there is no copay for anything. So there’s really no reason, financially, to not to take advantage of that benefit. In the employer market space, they’re also typically covering some sort of wellness visit.”
Going to your doctor on a regular basis not only pays in prevention, but your doctor can get to know you and the family. So if you or the kids don’t feel well, your doctor will probably do a telehealth visit (via computer or cellphone) because they know you and your history. How convenient is that?
Establish Good Habits that Last a Lifetime
Most doctors cherish their relationships with their patients. But sometimes there may be a disconnect or the “chemistry” just isn’t there. If you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor, Peña advised you should find another one.
“You get to choose your provider,” Peña said. “It’s kind of like dating. Feel free to break up with your doctor and go date someone else. It’s worth it if you can build that relationship and establish a really good one.”
You want to feel comfortable enough to talk about subjects that rarely get discussed at home, like depression, sexuality or drug use. It is important to trust your doctor enough to open up about your fears, what’s stressing you and what’s going on in your life. This is not only important for your well-being, but it also helps establish good health habits with your kids.
“Children are learning their life-long habits right now,” Peña explained, “If they don’t see their parents prioritizing a wellness visit, they may not do that when they’re older. So it’s all about establishing those healthy habits now.”
If have questions about your health insurance plan or how to get the help you need, reach out to the bilingual Equality Health Care Team at 1-833-CARE-100 (1-833-227-3100).
Published in Prensa Arizona, 1/27/2022