4 Ways to Use Your Health Plan to Boost Your Well-Being
By Dr. Donna O’Shea On May 10, 2023
The road to good health is often a path of ups and downs. To help avoid this bumpy ride, try tapping into resources, including ones available through your employer or health plan. Whether your goal is to improve your physical or mental health (or both), considering these tips can help you take advantage of resources that may be included with your plan. Below are four strategies to consider, whether your coverage is through an employer, a state-based exchange, or government-sponsored programs such as Medicare or Medicaid.
Take advantage of preventive visits. While plans vary, many have eliminated out-of-pocket costs, such as copays or deductibles, for certain preventive screenings. This may include coverage for colonoscopies, mammograms and type 2 diabetes screenings. Likewise, some vaccinations for children and adults may be covered with no cost-sharing. Some plans may include coverage for some behavioral health visits to help treat depression, anxiety or stress. Vision plans usually include coverage for an annual eye exam, which may help detect and manage certain chronic conditions, and dental insurance often includes two cleanings per year to help prevent or treat oral health issues.
Go virtual. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how and where people want to get healthcare, with 71% of Americans saying they are interested in continuing to use virtual care to access medical services. In response, most employers and health plans have expanded their virtual care offerings to help people remotely address everything from urgent care issues to primary care and behavioral health needs.
Reach for rewards.A vast majority of workers have access to well-being programs through their employer and a similar number have it via a Medicare Advantage plan. However, only 23% of employees use these wellness initiatives. To help change that, some programs are offering rewards for certain activities, such as filling out a health survey, getting a biometric screening, meeting movement goals or tracking sleep. Plus, instead of virtual coins or rewards that can only be used to help pay for medical care, some programs are allowing members to earn prepaid debit cards that may be worth hundreds of dollars annually.
Save on a digital fitness app.Whether your fitness goal is focused on improving strength, enhancing endurance or finding new levels of flexibility, a digital fitness app may be helpful. In fact, 30% of Americans surveyed said they’ve used a digital fitness app as part of a fitness regimen. To help gain access, some health plans now include subsidized subscriptions to digital fitness apps featuring thousands of live and on-demand workouts. In some cases, a subscription to a digital fitness app may be available to members at no additional cost.
About the Author: Dr. Donna O’Shea is chief medical officer of population health at UnitedHealthcare.