Health care costs are continuing to rise while governments, employers, insurers and you, the plan member, face real challenges in continuing to fund escalating costs. Here are few things that we can all do as health care consumers to help ensure the sustainability of our benefit plans regardless if they are funded publicly or privately.
- Always ask if generic alternatives are available to brand name drugs. If you are currently taking or will be prescribed a brand-name medication, inquire with your doctor about a generic alternative.
- Shop around for the lowest mark-up and dispensing fee on prescription drugs. This saves your plan money and lowers the amount you pay if your plan doesn’t cover 100%of the costs.
- Always provide current details of a spousal plan on your claim form so costs can be coordinated between each benefit plan.
- Always update your personal information to ensure all your dependants are covered.
- Always inquire about your health coverage when travelling out of country. Ensure all your family members have the emergency phone number and or the Out of Country card when travelling abroad.
- Don’t forget about the second opinion, many plans offer this service through the Best Doctors network.
- Always submit health and dental claims by the plan deadline.
- Check your coverage when you face a disability leave, don’t use your vacation time for medical reasons.
- Don’t pay more than what is reasonable and ensure your paramedical services provider is registered. All benefit providers apply a reasonable and customary limit for services provided by massage therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. after assessing the reasonable cost for these services in a geographic region. Shop around to ensure you don’t have to pay extra. Also, because we only pay for claims with a registered paramedical provider, ensure any practitioner you visit is registered with the college or association of their respective profession in their province.
- Ask your dental provider if he/she charges in accordance with your Insurance carrier Dental Fee Schedule. Like the reasonable and customary limits above, rates for dental services are based on an assessment of reasonable costs for these services. If your dentist charges more than this for a service, you will be out-of-pocket for the extra.
Your group benefits plans are available for you to use, and employees are encouraged to take advantage of them. If used sensibly, you can help minimize the cost to both you and your employer.
Written By: Andreea Dragomir