How often do you visit your doctor? Odds are, you’re in his/her office only one to two times per year. That’s just 1 to 2 days out of 365, where someone else is caring for your health. The rest of the year, it’s up to you to take charge and paint your own health picture, using the tools, advice and guidelines that he/she has given you. Thanks to the Internet, you can get help throughout the entire year to manage and maintain your health. You can shop around for excellent and cost-effective care, you can track and update your records, and you can educate yourself about your conditions and treatments.
Online tools are making it easier than ever for patients to take an active role in their healthcare. Subscribers are able to shop around for healthcare, just as they would for a car, a repair man or just about any other product/service. The cost estimator tool allows patients to estimate their treatment costs and healthcare expenses. They are able to select their condition and learn about the various treatment options available to them. In addition, patients can view the average time a treatment requires and what they’ll pay for different types of in-network care.
Learning about your specific plan benefits is also important; this helps you avoid the shock of an unexpected bill. The annual health cost estimator tool at myRegence.com aids you in estimating your annual health care costs and allows you to map out your out-of-pocket costs related to your health benefits. The tool displays your plan-specific copays, deductibles and covered expenses. You can also learn about the preventive care you need (and why), based on your age and health status, as well as the coverage for preventive services.
In the past decade, the Internet has taken the guess-work out of searching for a health care provider. Using the provider search tool, patients have an abundance of information available at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere. Most insurance plan sites offer search tools that allow you to filter, sort and compare results to find your right match quickly and easily. You can view provider profiles, which include photos, contact information and philosophies. Independent quality measurement reports are also provided, along with member reviews to help you make your selection. To help your bottom line, you can also compare the out-of-pocket expenses you can expect to pay with each provider.
Tracking your health has also become popular and easy to do with the help of these online tools. You can maintain your own health record, storing all of your health information in one place, and having access to it at any time. Taking advantage of this tool can help you to reduce the paper clutter at home, while still maintaining a complete and accurate health history. Since you’re tracking your health records, why not take a health assessment? Most insurance carrier websites have created assessments that will help you learn about your individual health risks and health habits.
Patients are going online, more than ever, to research their health conditions and connect with others that are sharing the same experience. You can chat with other patients using the message boards or get expert advice from pharmacists, HSA specialists, trainers, chefs and nutritionists. Their extensive health library also makes it possible to find a plethora of information on diseases and conditions, fitness and nutrition, and mental and personal health, all in one place!
While Regence has been a pioneer in this area, most major insurance carriers also offer tools similar to myRegence.com. Go to your carrier’s website to see what tools are available to you, free of charge. Then, take control of your health. Shop around to find the best care, update your health record, and learn about your conditions, prescriptions and treatments. Play an active role in your healthcare; you’ll be glad you did.