Here is a 3 in 1 combo question for today: Can I go to any doctor? How do I find out if my doctor is on my plan? Is there any out of network coverage?
When you enroll in health insurance you are often paying a lot of money for your coverage, however if you choose a doctor that is not covered on your plan (or in network) you may end up paying a huge and unnecessary bill on top of your monthly insurance costs. Needless to say, that is not what you want.
So how do you know who is covered on your plan? Most carriers (for example, United Healthcare, Select Health, Altius etc.) have great information on their website. You can usually create a log in and search for your doctor or find a doctor near you by searching your location. If you’d rather not go through the online process, you can always call the phone number on your insurance card and ask them if a doctor is covered on your plan.
I have done this for myself and for my family members multiple times. It has saved us a lot of money because we have chosen not to go to a doctor that isn’t covered on our plan.
When should you go through this process? Any time that you change insurance carriers or plans, any time that you make an appointment to see a new doctor and any time that you have a question about a bill that you received. This also needs to happen if you are referred to a specialist. Just because your doctor’s office referred you to them, doesn’t mean that they will still be covered on your plan.
My husband has a different health insurance plan than I do. Both plans are with the same carrier, but surprisingly not all the same doctors are covered. I saved us a lot of money and hassle by calling ahead to the insurance company even though I was surprised that the networks were so different within the same carrier but different plans. We don’t go to the same doctor currently for this reason, but if I hadn’t looked into it we would have been responsible for a large cost that would have been covered by another practitioner. Moral of the story…ask lots of questions and double check even when you think you are probably covered. Especially in the health care and health insurance world, you will be over charged if you don’t stay on top of the details.
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