by Wyatt Bland
You probably already know the standard benefits and coverage options that your health insurance carrier is offering you, from doctor’s appointments to preventative care to routine tests. But do you use or even know about your hidden benefits and perks? To incentivize healthy lifestyles and compete with other plans, carriers will often include benefits and discounts for enrollees. Although this list is by no means exhaustive and benefits vary greatly from insurance company to insurance company and plan to plan, these may be some of your hidden benefits that you should inquire about from your broker, HR department, or health insurance carrier:
- Walk-in Clinics
Walk-in clinics are available around the country and may be located at your local pharmacy. Walk-in clinics are perfect options when you are travelling or can’t get an appointment with your regular physician. Places such as CVS, Walgreens, and Target offer walk-in clinic services as easy, quick, and simple as shopping. Under a physician or registered nurse practitioner, you can seek treatment for a wide array of ailments, have a prescription filled, and even have tests run.
- Telehealth and Virtual Care
Telehealth is a bit of a catch-all term with a wide assortment of definitions. Many insurance companies refer to telehealth as a system of accessing care remotely through the comfort of your computer or phone. With services like Teladoc, you can video chat with a certified physician while benefiting from low wait times and on-demand service at the touch of a screen.
- Healthy Meal and Activities Savings
Although not as common as other hidden benefits, insurance companies are beginning to explore subsidizing and offering discounts on healthier food and groceries. These benefits could also include discounts on registered dieticians and popular weight loss programs such as Jenny Craig®. Your insurance may even offer you their in-house weight loss programs and services.
- Chronic Illness Case Manager
If you have a qualifying illness you may be able to participate in your carrier’s chronic illness management program. Qualifying diseases could include, but are not limited to, heart conditions, diabetes, asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions, among others. In addition to online access and support, you could receive a case manager that helps to teach you how to navigate your symptoms and manage your illness.
- Discounted Fitness Memberships
Some insurance carriers partner up with fitness centers and gyms to offer discounts and savings on memberships to enrollees like you. You could also save further health costs down the road by staying fit and active. Not to mention that some insurance companies offer reward programs in which you are rewarded just for going to the gym or walking a certain amount of steps each day.
- House Calls
See if you can access one of the many companies that offer house calls like Heal. A house call is when a doctor comes to your home for a personal appointment, rather than you having to go to the doctor’s office. Many insurance companies cover house calls so they are an affordable and convenient option for when you are feeling sick. Ultimately you can avoid germ-filled waiting rooms and enjoy the privacy and comfort of your home.
- 24/7 Nurse Lines
When you are feeling a minor illness or have a medical question, you could call up a 24/7 nurse line. These phone lines may be covered by your insurance through a partner organization or directly sponsored by your carrier. Typically the nurse line involves a registered nurse available 24/7 to answer questions and offer advice on symptoms, care, and minor illnesses. But a 24/7 nurse line is not a substitute for emergency services so as with any case if you are experiencing a medical emergency call 911.
- Away From Home Coverage
We have all had that moment when we took the family for a vacation and someone gets sick. While it depends on the carrier and your plan, realize that your insurance may reach across the country. Call your insurance company and the doctor’s office before setting up an appointment to see if a physician is contracted with your insurance. But don’t assume that just because you’re away from home means you won’t be covered.
There are numerous benefits that you may be underutilizing. These benefits include discounts, savings, and special programs and resources that you might be missing out on. Take advantage of your options and find out what may be hidden in your plan.
For more information on some of the hidden benefits of specific carriers please call your broker or insurance company. Call us today at AEIS, Inc. to help you explore hidden benefits at 650-348-6234.
Disclaimer: You should familiarize yourself with your available insurance benefits before you may need them and in case of an emergency seek immediate medical attention and call 911.