How Can You Get The Most Out of Your Health Insurance?
Consumer driven health care are health plans designed to give you the same control over your health costs as you do other things you buy.
Let's say Gary needs a new rake. He can go to a small boutique hardware store and choose from a limited selection of rakes that will probably cost more. He'll have excellent customer service and expert recommendations but, in the end, he'll pay more for the rake.
If he goes to a huge home improvement chain store, he'll have a larger selection of rakes to choose from, and they'll be a little cheaper, but it's up to him to decide which one is best.
Consumer Driven Healthcare works somewhat the same way. If you let your health insurer or your doctor do all the research, compare all the prices and make the treatment and therapy decisions for you, you will pay more in premiums and copays because others are doing all the work.
However, by putting some of the responsibility in your hands, Consumer Driven Healthcare can actually lower your costs because you're shouldering more responsibility and making more decisions. Using today's greater information resources, including regular updates from your health insurer and online research, Consumer Driven Health Plans encourage you to learn more about your health, the treatments available to you, and the costs involved with treatment. They give you greater flexibility in the use of your money, too.
Let's say Gary decides he's spending too much for healthcare. He wants to save money with a Consumer Driven Health Plan. Here are a just a few examples of what he can do.
- He can enroll in a wellness program that takes proactive measures to keep him healthy so he can divert less money to health spending.
- If he chooses a plan with higher deductibles, he'll pay less every month but pay more of the total cost of care when he needs it.
- If he chooses a Health Reimbursement Account, he'll pay out-of-pocket for his medical costs, but is paid back by his employer.
- If Gary has a Health Savings Account, he'll put some tax-free money aside every month to be used for medical care.
In each of these situations, Gary is in charge of the money and how it's spent. He uses information on the Internet and other sources, and compares prices provided by his health insurer, to make more informed decisions.
Consumer Driven Health Plans are a good solution. Research has shown that when people are given more control, responsibility and accountability for their health spending, they tend to spend less. And they tend to engage in healthier behaviors. Also, due to the lower costs of Consumer Driven Health Plans, many previously uninsured people are now able to afford coverage.
Summary of Consumer Driven Health Plans
Consumer Driven Health Plans save money because they let you handle more of your own decisions, and make you an active consumer instead of a passive patient.