FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Health Care Plan?

by Nora Dunn on 20 March 2010 3 comments
Photo: Evansent

Health care is big business in the States, and when your health is on the line, you want to be on the right end of that business stick. Your health care plan goes beyond the selection and payment of an insurance plan though; some people choose to self-insure, some have more than one insurance choice, and others yet are creatively resourceful with their options, tax breaks, cost-cutting, and getting free advice.

Following is a Financial IQ Test to help you determine how healthy your health care management plan is. Simply look at each statement, and answer it with a YES, NO, or NOT SURE. Keep track of your answers, and we'll see how you score at the end. Then, check out the resource articles below to increase your knowledge base.

FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Health Care Plan?

Comparison Shopping

I’ve compared monthly to annual insurance rates and chosen the most cost-effective option.

I’ve weighed out the pros and cons of having dental and vision insurance coverage, and I only have insurance if I know I can’t self-insure for it.

I know what Health Care Centers will charge based on my income.

I’ve priced out options to have major procedures done in a foreign country.

If I’m traveling or have a minor issue that requires medical attention, I understand what Retail Health Clinics can offer me.

I’ve compared my insurance coverage with my spouse’s coverage, and we’ve selected the best plan for both of us.

Record Keeping

I keep accurate records of all my medical correspondence and transactions, plus copies of originals I’ve submitted for insurance claims – just in case.

I review any reimbursement checks for health care to ensure it was properly processed.

Researching and Seeking Advice

I research my symptoms online before seeing a doctor.

I check with the pharmacist about non-urgent symptoms and medications for free advice before seeing a doctor.

I research my physician’s diagnosis and prescriptions before spending more money.

Health Care Hacks

I call my doctor’s office to ask about non-urgent problems before scheduling an appointment. (Sometimes an appointment isn’t necessary.)

I take advantage of free tests and screenings (eg: blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer screenings) at health fairs or pharmacies.

When I donate blood, I take advantage of the free readings (eg: blood pressure, iron, etc).

I keep my prescription costs low by selecting the generic instead of name-brand drugs.

Before taking a prescription, I ask my doctor if there is a free sample I can have.

For dental and vision care, I visit student clinics and colleges to reduce my expenses.

If I don’t have insurance, I advise my doctor of it and ask if they can give me a discount.

I use Planned Parenthood centers for inexpensive reproductive checks including for STDs, birth control, etc.

I’ve asked about financial aid to help with any onerous medical bills I’m paying.

Tax Savings

I take advantage of tax deductions with a Health Savings Account (if applicable to me).

I keep track of my medical expenses so I can get related tax breaks when I file.

I understand the benefits of a High Deductible Health Plan in combination with a Health Savings Account.

Scoring

Did you keep track of how many times you answered YES, NO, and NOT SURE? Great! Give yourself the following points for each answer:

YES = 4 points

NO = 0 points

NOT SURE = 2 points

Analysis

0-31 – Could be healthier

You don’t even know what you don’t know about maximizing your health care plan! You may be able to save some big dollars on health insurance, medical expenses, and taxes by taking the time to read up on and research your options. Check out the articles below for starters. Don’t stick your head in the sand and wait for a medical crisis to whip you into shape – do it now!

32-63 – Do you know all your options?

You’re not quite a health care expert yet. Are you aware of the health care hacks you can use to maximize your money, the various health clinics and their fees, and how you best fit into the fray? Are you keeping accurate records and getting the right advice? If any of the questions in the quiz stumped you, check out the relevant articles below to start your research.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

64-92 – Researching and Hacking

Becoming your own health care expert is an evolution. And even when you think you know everything, new changes and legislations come into play that keep the learning curve going. But you’re already towards the top of your curve, so pat yourself on the back, before hitting the books (or rather, web sites) again to make sure you continue to get the most for your health care dollars.

Health Care Articles to Improve your Score

Health Insurance — Two Other Numbers to Look at

Don’t Cash That Insurance Check – It May Not be Yours

Things to Insure, Things Not to Insure

Health Insurance Costs too High, Alternative Not Pretty

I’ve Lived Both Sides of the Healthcare System. This is What I’ve Learned

Stay Healthy, Live Longer: Spend Wisely Making Intelligent Choices in America’s Healthcare System

50 Ways to Squeeze Value from your Healthcare Dollar Without Killing Yourself

5 Place to Check Out Medical Care for the Uninsured

Cost Comparison: Emergency Rooms vs Urgent Care

The Online Doctor: A Good Use of your Health Care Dollar

Generic Drugs: Not Always the Same

I’m Fleeing the Country for Healthcare

Medical Tourism 101: Listen Live for Big Savings

3 Times to Consider Declining your Employer’s Health Coverage

The Best 4-Step Plan to Manage your Medical Correspondence

Walgreens Clinics Provide Free Health Care for the Very Recently Unemployed

Will a Dental Discount Plan Save you Money?

Make Cents of Healthcare With a Plan

Other FINANCIAL IQ Tests on Wise Bread:

FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Debt Management?

FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy are your Bank Accounts?

FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Budget?

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Guest's picture

The above is an excellent list for people living in the US full time. I may bookmark it for the next time I live in the US myself!

I would also strongly recommend that those visiting the US from countries where they are insured (like France) make sure they understand the terms of their medical coverage in the US.

For example, your coverage goes with you from France, but only covers a percentage of the fees that would normally be charged in France--as there's a huge difference in costs between the US and France, you could be left paying quite a bit out of pocket if you have a health need while visiting the US.

Checking before you go and finding out what exactly your local insurance covers is a wise idea.

Nora Dunn's picture

@simple in France - Great advice! People visiting the US without travel insurance will more often than not find that their home country plans won't suffice. That's why I always recommend travel insurance (the right kind of travel insurance, that is)!

Here's a primer:

http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirt-on-travel-insurance

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