The funny part about being in the insurance business is that you often get an opportunity to work in various aspects of this field. For example, recently, I took a temp job counseling new Obamacare recipients on their health coverage. Many of them haven’t had health insurance for years or at all. As a result, they were both elated and confused – having the ability to get their medical needs met felt great, but how to achieve this feat wasn’t clear. Understanding what to do next was vital.
1. Organize your paperwork.
Before calling your new insurer, get your paperwork in order. Know your policy ID number and any other pertinent information that relates to you. New insurance laws require that the other person on the phone line verifies who you are. So, your name and date of birth may not be enough to identify you. You may also need to provide a social security number and the address/phone number you used to apply for the health insurance.
2. Take inventory of your health.
When was the last time you got a physical? In order to get proper medical care, you need to be able to inform your doctor about your physical needs. This feat is impossible if you don’t know yourself. Be wise. Without your participation, no medical provider can truly help you achieve your best physical state. So make a list of what’s ailing you. Also, write on paper a record of diseases and conditions prevalent in your family tree.
3. Visit your health insurer’s website.
Most of your questions can be answered in this place. You can find a doctor or pharmacy and read up on benefits. Also, if you register, you can perform other important things such as downloading an ID card. Understanding how to manipulate your health insurer’s website is a time saver. Why? You can avoid making a call and competing for the time of an overworked call center rep.
4. Find out what you must pay.
Do you owe a $20 co-pay or 30% co-insurance for an office visit? Research your out-of-pocket expenses prior to obtaining medical services. You don’t want to end up with a shocking bill that blows your budget. Check your benefit booklet or call your health insurer. Both sources should be able to give you a solid answer.
5. Select and visit a doctor.
Your primary care physician (PCP) is the key that unlocks the doors to a variety of medical services. He (or she) gives initial diagnoses and referrals to specialists. In addition, a PCP has the general knowledge to treat many diseases and conditions. For this reason, the sooner you pick one and set an appointment, the better off you’ll be – physically.
In conclusion, the above is what to do if you haven’t had insurance for years. These simple steps can get you rolling towards the type of good health you’ve dreamed of. For more info on the topic of health insurance, read What to do When Your Health Insurer Won’t Pay and How to Challenge a Hospital Bill.