How to Make the Most of Your Preventative Care
September 3, 2011
Vol. 7, Issue 7
Well, it’s back to school time for us, with Wiley IV starting third grade this year. He has newly found independence, as he and his buddy Aden are now riding their scooters to school. Ah, the freedom of the open road!
New Access to Preventive Health Care Services
All health insurance plans purchased since July 2010 must pay for certain recommended diagnostic tests and preventive treatments. One of our clients just sent this after reading last month’s Health and Wealth Report:
“I have always had a high deductible HSA, and since I had to pay for any care out of pocket, I never got any of the preventive tests I knew I needed. Since my new policy covers preventive care before the deductible, I have been able to finally get a colonoscopy (I'm 59), bone density screening, and blood tests -- all free!(and, fortunately, all normal) This is a benefit of the new health care law -- for adults, not only children.”
What All New Health Insurance Plans Cover
While health care reform didn’t retroactively change policies already purchased, it made a big difference in the coverage you can get now. Even policies with the highest deductibles (hence, the lowest premiums) cover common recommended preventive care services. That means you don’t have co-pays, co-insurance or deductible charges, as long as you use in-network providers.
If a covered preventive service, such as a cholesterol screening test, is not the primary reason for the doctor appointment, you may have to pay for at least some of the office visit cost. That could also happen if your doctor bills you for a preventive service separately from the office visit, so discuss that with your doctor.
Depending on your age, you may have access at no cost to preventive services, such as:
- Blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes tests.
- Many cancer screenings, including colonoscopies and mammograms
- Counseling to help you eat healthfully, lose weight, manage depression, quit smoking or reduce alcohol use
- Counseling, screening and vaccines to ensure a healthy pregnancy
- Flu and pneumonia shots
- Regular well-baby and well-child visits, from birth to age 21
- Routine vaccinations, such as measles, meningitis or polio.
There are many other no-cost preventive services that your plan may cover. You can see a complete list at:
“If I had my way,
I'd make health catching instead of disease.”
How to Save When It’s Not Covered as Preventive Care
In last month’s issue, I mentioned that you can order lab tests online and have them run at the nearest participating lab for savings of up to 80 percent through Direct Labs, and we just heard from a client who tried it and was thrilled.
“Well we did it. I arranged for Linda and me to take blood tests through Direct Labs. We went to a Tinley Park lab location, only about 3 miles from our home, for the draw. At our doctor's direction, we each had a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, which consisted of 14 individual tests all rolled into one test category.
I checked with our Palos hospital, and the exact same CMP test would have cost $340! And, with a high individual deductible insurance plan, that's money we gotta come up with.
The cost through Direct Labs? ( please sit down )...$29!!!!!!!! That is a savings of over 91%!!! Absolutely astounding! Plus, at our direction, they will send the results directly to our doctor. And, we can see the results ourselves right on-line in literally a couple of days!
I particularly like the fact that you can look online for hundreds of various other blood tests and get your reduced lab costs right there. Plus, as this was our first order from Direct Labs, I called and spoke to a very knowledgeable assistant who verified all was in order, just to make sure. This system is truly a Godsend for folks who need or want blood tests more frequently, as in the case when taking certain medications requiring more frequent testing. Thanks so much for "learning me" how to take more charge of our medical costs.”
I’ll share some more ideas to help you stay healthy and wealthy next time. Until then, hope you have a great September.
Until then, enjoy the summer and stay well.
To your health and wealth!
President - HSA for America