Making the Most of Your Benefits
Know Your Health Insurance Plan
$ Where You Go Matters
Sometimes the emergency room is the best option, while other situations may call for Convenient Care or an office visit to your primary care provider. You will also want to check if your provider facility is in the BCBS network. If not, you will pay significantly more for care and services. Use the online BCBSIL Provider Finder to search for providers and facilities in the networkl; if you're not sure how to use it, see the tutorial.
$ Fitness Works Gym Membership Program
The Fitness Works program offers access to a nationwide network of leading national, regional and local fitness centers with no contract. Members pay just $25 to enroll and $25/month fee for flexible access to a host of providers. For a list of providers, visit: www.hcdimensions.com/FitnessYourWay/ and type in the zip code of the area you wish to search.
$ Ask for Generic Drugs
The main difference between a brand name drug and its generic equivalent is that the generic often costs much less. Both brand name drugs and generic drugs go through an approval process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must meet similar standards of effectiveness and chemical make-up as branded drugs.
If your doctor writes a prescription for a brand drug that does not have a generic equivalent, consider asking if an appropriate generic alternative is available. As a patient, you can tell your pharmacist you are interested in generics. In most situations, your pharmacist can substitute a generic equivalent for its brand counterpart without a new prescription from your doctor. For more information on generics, visit BCBSIL's FAQ page on generic prescriptions.
$ Check Prices
A number of pharmacies offer free or greatly reduced prices on commonly prescribed medication. You can also use a website or an app, such as GoodRx or NeedyMeds to help you find the lowest cost for a prescription as well as coupons for discounts and savings.
$ Ask if a 90-Day Option is Available
You can often save money by refilling your prescription for 90 days instead of 30 days. Ask your pharmacist if this is an option.
Flexible Savings Accounts
$ Health Care FSA
Flexible Savings Accounts are a great way to save money on health expenditures and dependent care. An FSA allows you to set aside money from your paycheck before taxes, which reduces your taxable income. The money in your FSA is also tax-free. You can use your Health Care FSA to pay for items like visits to the doctor’s office, prescription drugs, dental care and vision care not otherwise covered by a health plan are all eligible health care expenses.
$ Dependent Care FSA
Flexible Savings Accounts are also a great way to save money on dependent care (including elder care!). Your Dependent Care FSA can be used for payments to licensed day care facilities, before or after-school programs, and elder care. You may be reimbursed for dependent care expenses incurred for any individual in your family who’s under age 13 and can be claimed as a dependent on your federal income tax return, or for a spouse or dependent who’s not able to care for him or herself.
$ Don’t Overestimate Your Costs
FSAs are use-it-or-lose-it accounts. You can roll over up to $500 from year to year, but any additional funds you set aside cannot be refunded if you do not use them. If you aren't sure where to start, try setting aside $500 or less. Whatever you don't use, you can roll over to the next year without losing money.
$ If you have recently had a significant life event such as a marriage, birth of a child, or divorce, did you change your beneficiary information on your life insurance? Even if your will states a specific beneficiary, the individual(s) listed on your policy is who will receive your benefits.