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How can I save money on what I pay for care?
  • Talk to a nurse any time of the day or night for advice and treatment options.
  • A 24/7 online clinic can treat more than 60 common conditions like pink eye, sinus and bladder infections.
  • Many companies offer health and well-being programs to employees and usually employees don’t pay to participate. Even better, you may be rewarded for taking part.

ERs are the most expensive …. get the graphic on where I should go for what kind of care

What does my insurer need to know to help me compare prices for care?

Planning ahead for treatments, procedures or surgeries? Need a new knee? Start by asking your doctor for specific information about the care you will receive. Ask for:
• the technical name of the procedure you will be having
• a list of tests you may need beforehand
• a list of care you will likely need afterward

Can you return home right after surgery, for example? Do you need time getting therapy and care somewhere else before you return home. Sometimes, the only follow-up care needed is a visit to the doctor. Other times the surgery or procedure is just the start of the care you’ll need.

Talking to your insurer about what care you’re planning can help make sure everything goes smoothly and you get the best care.

What will I have to pay?

Knowing your cost up front is not always easy. Deciding how much it will cost to “fix” a person will never be like getting an estimate on the cost to fix a car. But your insurer can help you figure out how much of the bill you will have to pay.

The price you pay for care depends on the insurance you have and where you get care.

  • You and your insurer both pay for your care. How much you each pay depends on your specific policy.
  • Where you get care. Health insurance policies have different lists (networks) of doctor, hospitals and other health care experts. Get care in your network and you’ll probably pay less. Get care out of network and you’ll have to pay more. Also, there is a limit on how much you will pay in network. There is no limit for care that’s outside the network.
Where can I compare prices for care?
  • Ask your insurer. Policyholders can log in to get detailed information that isn’t available to others.
  • MNhealthscores, click on Cost of Services and Procedures circle
  • Main Street Medica, is open to all. It is general information. Call your health insurer for specific details.
  • Ask at work. Some employers have price information online or call centers available to their employees. Ask your human resources department for more information.

 

What if my bill is more than I was told?

Call the place where you got the care and ask why it’s different than what you expected. Ask for a detailed bill. Call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask for help.

What's not covered?

No health insurance policy will cover everything. Specific questions about what’s covered need to be answered by your insurer. It’s important to know:

  • You will have to pay for any products or services that are not covered by your policy, such as Lasik surgery to improve vision, cosmetic surgery and eyeglasses and contacts. To get price information for these, contact clinic or hospital directly.
  • Care that is not covered does not count toward the out-of-pocket maximum in your policy.
When do I need a second opinion?

More is not always better—and that’s true when getting care, too. Sometimes it’s better wait to see if a health problem, such as back pain, improves on its own or with medication before deciding to have surgery.

In general, if your doctor recommends surgery, consider visiting another doctor to get a second opinion and consider your alternatives.

Choosing Wisely is information put together by doctors who specialize in treating common conditions such as sleeping problems, ear infections, knee problems, blocked arteries in your legs, prostate cancer, back pain and more. The doctors explain wise treatment choices and give you ideas to help you talk with your doctor and make better decisions about care for pink eye to end-of-life care.

The best advice we’ve heard is to work closely with your doctor to choose care that has been proven to work for patients like you, does not repeat other tests or procedures you have already had, won’t harm you and is truly necessary.

 

PULLOUT: FACT: The price you pay for care is different across clinics even within your network. MN Community Measurement’s mnhealthscores.org website shows the same care can be three times higher at one clinic than another. Keep in mind the highest price does not equal the best quality and the most expensive treatment does not mean it’s the best care.