Benefits Enrollment & Reference Guide - Harford County Public ...

Benefits Enrollment & Reference Guide - Harford County Public ...

Be an Informed Healthcare Consumer

Help Control the Cost of Healthcare

and Promote your Well-Being

On an almost-daily basis, the rising cost of healthcare is

in the news. Advances in medical technology, expensive

prescription drugs, consumer demand, and an aging

population are just a few factors that impact healthcare

costs. While some factors are beyond the control

of the consumer, there are some things you can do to

help keep healthcare costs down – both for you and for

HCPS. Below are a few tips to help you become a wiser

consumer of healthcare:

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Maintaining your own health can help to minimize your

health care costs. The healthier you are, the less likely

you are to need costly health care services - which

mean you spend less on copays, deductibles, and other

medical costs. Eat right and get plenty of exercise.

Get regular checkups

Get a regular annual checkup and/or physical exam,

which can uncover early warning signs of potential

health problems, and can also help you build a good

relationship with your doctor.

Save the emergency room for emergencies

Emergency room visits are two to three times more

expensive than a visit to the doctor’s office or an urgent

care center. These ER visits are not only costly, but they

can be unnecessarily stressful and time-consuming for

you and your family if what you need is routine care.

Urgent care facilities are available in the area and may

be used for a variety of urgent health problems for a

lower copay than the ER.

Get regular screenings

Get regular screenings (e.g., mammograms) as

recommended by your carrier and national organizations,

such as the American Cancer Society.

Visit a Primary Care Provider before going to

see a specialist.

Primary care providers are usually family practitioners,

general practitioners, internists or pediatricians. A

primary care provider can treat many illnesses and

injuries at a lower fee – in many cases at half the cost

of a specialist’s fee. For example, you don’t necessarily

need to see an orthopedic specialist for back pain.

Primary care providers consider your overall health.

They can advise you about disease prevention and

how to stay healthy. They are also familiar with your

personal health history and needs and have your

medical records on file.

Ask for Generic

When you need a prescription, ask your doctor to

prescribe a generic, if one is available. Generics have

the same chemical equivalency as brand-name drugs,

and are held to the same standards by the Food and

Drug Administration, but they cost less than brandname


Review Your Bills

Reviewing your health care bills can help you identify

and prevent unnecessary health care costs. Here’s what

to look for to determine if a bill is correct:

Does the date of service on the bill match the date

you went to the doctor or the hospital?

Did you receive all the services or procedures listed

on the bill?

Are you charged for more x-rays or lab work than

you received? Call your provider to report any errors

you spot on your bills or Explanation of Benefits

forms (EOB’s).

Is your share of the cost correct? If not, call the

insurance provider to discuss. If there is a referral

involved, was the referral processed prior to the claim?

8 Harford County Public Schools – Benefits Enrollment & Reference Guide

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