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Do you have health insurance? Do you know how to use it?

Unlike car insurance, your health insurance should not be used only when something is wrong. It is a tool for the prevention of diseases.

Having a health insurance certainly helps you in case of an accident or illness and gives you peace of mind. But Do you know how to use it? Are you getting the benefits you should be getting? Are you taking advantage of the preventive services that you give? According to one study, only 10% of people with Medicaid do so. Keep reading to be better informed.

Perhaps you have heard the saying “new year, new life”. You may not need a new life, but if you are considering healthier habits now that a new year begins. And you may find yourself among people who have health insurance for the first time or who have had it before but have not used it or do not know how to use it or what advantages it can provide.

Obviously not all health insurance is the same and depending on the plan you have there will be some variations as to your benefits and the doctors and hospitals you can go to for your health care. But there are certain things that all insurers share as if you have a medical emergency (such as chest pain and suspected heart attack), you can go or they can take you to the nearest hospital. Regardless of the insurance you have.

On the other hand, since health reform (the Affordable Care Act or ACA) in the United States, there are certain basic benefits that health insurance covers in this country (this may vary in other countries). These are:

Emergency treatment

Treatment during hospitalization

The treatment of prenatal care and immediately after the birth of the baby

Doctor visits that do not require hospitalization

Straight medicines

Treatment of mental illness (including psychotherapy)

Treating chronic problems including people with disabilities and to assist the rehabilitation of people who are injured (includes physical therapy, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, etc.)

The laboratory tests

Preventive tests (such as vaccines) and screening tests (which vary according to age and sex: such as blood sugar and cholesterol tests, mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.)

Dental and vision exams in children.

Co-payments and deductibles may vary. Some health insurance may not have co-payments and / or deductibles. That is why it is important that you know your particular health insurance.

Health insurance, unlike auto insurance, should not be used only when something is wrong. Usually we tend to take the car to the shop when something breaks down. When it comes to health, it is important to think about preventive screenings and to spot problems before they appear.

For example, Heidi Allen of the Center for Outcomes Research and Education, Providence Health System in Portland, Oregon, analyzed 120 people enrolled in Medicaid and found that 40% of people who had recently registered were not cared for because they did not know how The system worked. The rest of the people (the remaining 60%) used their insurance more frequently, but did not use it fully. Approximately only 10% took advantage of preventive services. Of course, the small group that knew how to use their insurance, was more satisfied with it.

In addition, people thought that if they used insurance for small things, other people who might need medical services, would not receive them and that because the taxes were used for this, they did not want to waste money. Lack of information made many people with Medicaid use emergency rooms for problems for which they could have gone to the doctor’s office; Who did not know that their insurance covered an annual medical examination and screening tests that could save money in the long run. And many people with Medicaid were afraid they would be charged for the visits (although in fact, they are included as part of their insurance).

In the case of dental benefits, there are some places, for example, in California where Denti-Cal exists and you could have coverage for dental exams, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, caries treatment, crowns, dentures and some Other dental treatments. And as for the view, again in some places, Medicaid could cover routine eye exams; Lenses and frames for lenses or contact lenses for those who can not wear glasses due to a health condition.

It is always important that you review the type of coverage or health insurance you have and that you check that the health care provider and / or the hospital you go to take your health insurance. The same happens with the pharmacy to which you are going to stock your medicines. Your card has some dates that indicate when to when this coverage is in effect. It is important that you make sure to renew it before it expires.

It is very important that you report what your insurance covers for you to take advantage of. I do not suggest abuses of the benefits that it offers, but it does take advantage of them to maintain your health and the health of your family.

If you live in the United States, you may qualify for low-income health coverage options for Medi-Cal or Medicaid. Get information from a local human resources agency. If you live in California you can get information at www.CoveredCalifornia.com, in the rest of the country visit https://www.cuidadodesalud.gov/es/.

You can also visit the health insurance exchange in your state. In California you can go to www.CoveredCA.com or call 1-800-300-0213. Community health centers in your community may help you access health services if you do not qualify for a health coverage program, in California you could find a health center at www.californiahealthplus.com.

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