Using Medical Insurance to Save Money

Kyle Crowe

May 14th, 2015 | Posted in Money Tips
medical-insurance

You may be paying unnecessary money for procedures and prescriptions that are commonly covered. Look more closely at your health insurance policy to see if any of these frequently overlooked benefits are available on your plan. If you’re not sure where to look, call the number on the back of your insurance card to have someone walk you through it.

Gym Memberships
Customers who exercise regularly are typically less likely to suffer from expensive medical ailments like heart disease and diabetes, so insurance companies have caught on and realized that paying for customers’ gym memberships will likely save them money over time. Check with your insurance plan to see which gyms are covered, or what the reimbursement limit is.

Weight Loss Surgery
We’re not talking tummy tucks for people who need to shed a few extra pounds. Surgical weight loss is for people with a BMI of 35 or higher, or those who are 100 pounds or more over their “healthy weight” may qualify if they have documentation proving conventional diet and exercise have failed to work. Medicare and Medicaid cover it, as well as many insurance companies, so if you’ve been considering a surgical weight loss procedure, check with your insurance provider to see what’s covered.

Breast Reduction Surgery
Again, this surgery isn’t for those who just want it for cosmetic reasons. Your doctor will need to diagnose chronic back or neck problems, headaches, or other physical pain attributed to breast size. If it’s a legitimate medical problem that interferes with your lifestyle, most insurance plans will cover the cost with proper documentation.

Vision Correction Surgery
Only recently have insurance companies begun covering vision correction surgeries, like Lasik – it was long considered an “elective procedure.” If you have vision insurance as part of your plan, it may cover at least a portion of vision correction surgeries, especially if your surgery is deemed as medically necessary.

24/7 Nurse Info Lines
Many insurance companies have toll-free numbers with a nurse available to answer health questions at all times, or a live chat function on their website. The phone number is likely on your insurance card, or on the website. If you can’t google it for the answer, call them up – it’s covered!

“Durable Medical Equipment”
Your policy will have a “durable medical equipment” section that breaks down how much they’ll pay for medically necessary equipment, or that which will aid in a better quality of living – and this includes breast pumps for nursing mothers, many of which are covered completely with a doctor’s prescription. Things like crutches, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, hospital beds, and CPAP machines are usually included. Again, check with your policy to see what’s covered.

Birth control
Birth controls have been 100% covered on most plans for some time now, but even newer methods of birth control, like hormone injections and NuvaRing are now covered by most insurance plans.

Pregnancy Prevention Surgery
Because it’s normally an elective surgery, many people assume they’ll have to cover the cost of surgeries like tubal ligation (women) and vasectomies (men), but because pregnancy prevention surgery can cost your insurer less money in the long run, they’ll often cover at least a portion. Be sure you’re done having kids, though – many plans will cover a $500 – $1,000 vasectomy, but interestingly, won’t cover the $6,000 – $15,000 reversal.

Non-Western Medicine
If you have a medical problem that your family physician can’t figure out, it may be worth looking into alternative treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, herbal supplements or massage therapy. Many alternative medicine treatments are covered, as long as it’s prescribed by a doctor.

Sleep Studies
If you have trouble falling asleep regularly, you’ve likely been prescribed a sleep aid medication. If you want to get to the root of the problem, your insurance may be able to help if you agree to participate in a sleep study which could reveal restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea, and help you find a treatment that doesn’t require taking a pill each night just to get some rest.