Have you ever been in a crisis where you or a loved one had to stay overnight at a hospital, call an ambulance, or go to the ER (emergency room)? I have experienced all three situations personally as a person with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic illness. Be advised, even if you are brought by ambulance to the hospital – the care you receive depends on your health insurance. Sure the ER will save your life – but the system is bogged down by the complicated health insurance plans and what they cover. In my experience, it is more likely that you will sign that you will pay for services, give your credit card or health insurance card before you speak to a doctor!
So what can I do? Based on my experiences, some rules I follow:
- Do not wait until you are in 10/10 pain to get help!
- Waiting is part of life. But each second seems longer when you are really sick
- Practice telling your “story” – why you are at the hospital- 15-20 seconds
- Healthcare staff are people and their job is stressful so you must – repeat yourself with simple statements and requests, be consistent, be assertive, thank them for the help!
- Get to know your healthcare plan so your care is not delayed- read on below
It is very difficult to understand healthcare insurance plans as they change greatly over time and yet – I have found some ways they stay the same – see below.
- Health Insurance is a means to an end – you accessing health care. That is all it is.
- Plan for the future – how much money can you afford for the year?
- Max out of pocket – Look into what your plan $ dollar amount is? This is the how much money you have to spend when accessing healthcare or prescriptions before your plan pays for 100% of your healthcare costs
- In Network/ Out of Network – Benefits are different based on this distinction. All things considered your healthcare cost is low in-network!
- Plan for the worst case scenario – For example, how much will it cost me to go to the hospital if I am away on a trip and the hospital is not in my network?
These are my own opinions, please speak to a licensed insurance agent or your healthcare plan to find out the facts about your own health insurance. – Isaac Levinsky