Perks of having a health plan?
October 11, 2007 12:42 PM   Subscribe

How can I make the most of my new health-care plan?

For the first time in my adult life, I have my own coverage, a PPO plan (through a major provider with a large network). What kind of care can I get that I might not think of ordinarily, since I'm used to not going to doctors except for emergencies? Any preventative, alternative or even holistic procedures can I ask for at a standard doctor's office? Or are there other sorts of practitioners that are sometimes under the PPO umbrella?
posted by ism to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
 
Your coverage may entitle you to discounts at exercise facilities, licensed massage therapists, and the like.
posted by mkb at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2007


If you haven't had a physical with a complete blood workup recently I would defiantly get that done. Although make sure there are not wait periods on physicals. My big name PPO doesn't cover a physical in full in the first 6 months.

I might also suggest reading your benefits documentation closely as it will outline in detail exactly what is covered, what isn't etc.
posted by COD at 1:11 PM on October 11, 2007


What COD said. We really have no idea what your plan covers in terms of alternative treatments, whether chiropractors are in the network, etc.

Establish a relationship with a primary doc that you really, really like and feel comfortable with. Don't go to the same doc twice if they piss you off or make you uncomfortable.

I don't know if you're male or female, or how old you are, but if you're female, get a full ob-gyn exam.
posted by sondrialiac at 1:12 PM on October 11, 2007


Definitely get a physical, and ask the doctor what kind of preventive care you should be doing. Also look over your documents to see if eye care, dental care, etc. are covered. If so, get your eyes checked and your teeth cleaned.
posted by bassjump at 1:39 PM on October 11, 2007


Routine physical. If you have a non-ER level issue, it's much easier to get a doctor's appointment if you are not also a new patient.

If female, yearly gyn appointment.

Dentist. (I hope that you do this already!)

Dermatologist. I felt a bit indulgent doing this (I barely know anyone with health insurance and here I am, paying someone to look at my freckles?) but it really is a good idea at least every five years (more frequently if you've got a lot of moles.)
posted by desuetude at 1:43 PM on October 11, 2007


Yeah, my benefits chart just lists co-pay, deductible, etc., and the list of providers doesn't give many specifics as to what each office offers. Thanks for the answers so far!
posted by ism at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2007


Now is a good time to think back over some of those non-emergency things from the past and see if they should be followed up on. For example: an occasional lump 'down there' when lifting weights? Perhaps that was/is an undiagnosed hernia. Strange new bumps or rashes on your skin? Perhaps see a dermatologist. Condition X runs in your family? Perhaps its time to get a blood test/exam for it.

A good doctor will help you with this but its always better if you can take charge of your own health. Also a good doctor will listen to all these concerns without making you feel like a hypochondriac.

Take the time to find a doctor you like and trust and build a relationship with them. You can afford to do this now. This means that when the greater need arises you will be working with someone who knows you rather than some random name from the phone book.
posted by vacapinta at 1:55 PM on October 11, 2007


ism, if your benefits package doesn't list all the info, it might all be online (when i had good insurance thru ibc, their website was very informative).

if they don't have a website, call the number on the back of your card and ask for some specifics or ask them to send you more literature. if you want to go to a chiropractor, ask if they cover that and how many visits per year you get. same with mental health services etc.

i'm going to get on a soapbox for a moment and say that it's very important for everyone to know what kind of health insurance they have and what kinds of things it does and does not cover. not all the nitty gritty details, but the broad stroke stuff. how many dental visits do you get a year? are x-rays covered or extra? does your insurance cover composite fillings or only the old-school fillings? do you have vision coverage? for what and how often can you get an eye exam? are mammograms and pap smears covered? stuff like that.

i just switched jobs and therefore lost my really great insurance and will be moving to god knows what. that makes me ever so sad. point is, if you have good insurance, use it. you're paying for it after all.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:42 PM on October 11, 2007


If you have dental, get a cleaning/checkup right away, especially if you haven't done one in a while.

I just got good health insurance for the first time and have narrowly avoided a root canal by doing just that.
posted by kdar at 9:35 PM on October 11, 2007


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