Nearly 9% of Americans aren’t currently covered by health insurance. If you’re one of them and are only just shopping for health insurance for the very first time – or if you are currently covered, and want to ensure you stay that way – then you can do with all the help you can get.

The Hoffman Agency fields questions about health insurance on a daily basis. We’re never hesitant to offer any health insurance tips that might make Iowans’ lives easier. That’s why we thought it might be helpful to gather our most frequently offered advice in one convenient place!

Check Your Coverage Annually

Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus coined the phrase “panta rhei.” It means “everything flows” – or, less literally, that everything changes.

Your health insurance plan is no exception to Heraclitus’ rule. You likely read through your current plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage before selecting it, but your benefits and coverage are both subject to change on an annual basis. A plan’s provider network is also subject to change every year, which is why it is crucial that you study your plan’s details annually. Doing so may also reveal that a different plan is better suited to your own household’s constantly changing needs and budget!

Stay Apprised of Your Plan’s Formulary

A formulary is a list of prescription drugs that are covered by your health plan. Receiving any of these medications may require that you pay a copay, and name-brand drugs often cost more than generic ones.

But as the pharmaceutical industry continually introduces new drugs to the market, so too do health insurance providers frequently update their formularies. While you can get away with checking your coverage annually, you should pay closer attention to its formulary by checking it monthly (especially if you are currently taking one or more prescription medications).

If you believe you could save money by switching over to analogous drug with a lower copay, consult your doctor! They will ensure that the replacement is a safe one.

Understand the Language of Health Insurance

No one reads an insurance plan for fun. The document is riddled with obtuse terminology, as well as seemingly familiar words which carry very specific meanings in the context of insurance.

But it is essential that you understand the meanings of words and phrases including “grievance,” “network,” “preferred provider” and “allowed amount” before ever attempting to make actual use of your health insurance plan. To that end, the government has prepared a very useful glossary of health coverage and medical terms – we would highly recommend reading through it!

If you haven’t yet, also familiarize yourself with the four categories of health insurance plans. Each is named after a precious metal (although bronze is arguably not all that valuable any longer), and defines how you and your insurance provider will split costs in the event that you ever require medical care.

Know Your Rights

The health insurance industry netted over $30 billion in 2020 alone. In other words, health insurance providers wield enormous power over the courts and private life – which is why knowing your healthcare rights is now more important than ever before. These include the rights to receive coverage regardless of your preexisting conditions, appeal your insurance provider’s decision to deny any medical service, and avoid retaliation from your employer.

Safeguard your rights by exercising them at every opportunity you get!

Keep Your Contact Information Up to Date

Many people miss important updates from their insurance providers simply because they didn’t update their address after moving or their phone number after getting a new phone. Don’t fall out of the loop – make sure to keep your contact information up to date!

Furthermore, while we do understand that wading through spam is about as pleasant as receiving dental surgery, do try and read any emails from your insurance provider. They’re legally obligated to inform you of any important changes to your policy. You do not want to find out about these after you have arrived at the hospital.

Not all health insurance questions are addressed so easily. If you need any help making sense of your current health insurance policy – or if you would like to purchase a new one, with the support you need to understand every detail – then we welcome you to contact us today. As one of Iowa’s leading health insurance providers, our agents are standing by to help you enjoy the best coverage your budget can afford!