Man planning for his health care

Prioritize Your Health: What You Need to Plan for in 2021

With the new year upon us and enrollment periods over for many people, now is the time to begin setting goals for your health in 2021. While the threat of the pandemic is a part of everyday life, proactively focusing on your health needs for the new year is more important now than ever. Let’s discuss how to understand your health plan and create checklist of appointments you should schedule as you look at the new year 

UNDERSTANDING YOUR PLAN 

The first step in the goal setting process is understanding your plan. Insurance plans can differ greatly in which health care providers you can see and how much you have to pay out-of-pocket. It is important to understand the costs you will incur when selecting your health benefits.  

There are many different types of plans designed to meet different needs, such as Exclusive Provider Organizations in which you can only see health care providers who are in the plan’s network or a Health Savings Accounts (HSA) in which you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. If your plan has a higher deductible, consider putting more money into an HSA to pay for unexpected medical expenses. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has health plan advisors available to help you learn what questions to ask and steps you can take to pick the right plan that works for your needs. 

APPOINTMENT CHECKLIST 

With your new health plan in mind, speak with your doctor about preventive care and different tests and appointments you will need during the year.  

Primary care physician visit 

Your doctor will be able to perform an annual physical exam, assess medical history and risk factors. Preventive health screenings can help determine if you need further testing, exams or a referral to a specialist. With the rate of preventive care visits falling during the pandemic, and flu season kicking into full gear, that provides a reminder that patients should not go without care forever. If left untreated, small health issues can become large ones. 

Eye doctor visit 

Periodic eye and vision examinations are an important part of preventive care, and patients should have an eye exam at least every other year until the age of 60. Early diagnosis and treatment can also help prevent loss of vision. During your visit, your doctor will ask about any vision problems, review your medications and perform an eye exam.  

Dentist visit 

Twice a year, or every six months, adults and children should visit the dentist for a cleaning and oral exam. This frequency allows dentists to catch any problems while they are still small and affordable to treat. Regular cleanings prevent plaque and tarter build-up, which lowers your risk for gum disease. These visits can also lead to early detection of oral cancer and address potential problems like cavities.  

For women, gynecologist visit 

All women should begin seeing a gynecologist at 21 years old, regardless of sexual activity for preventive care. During a routine visit, your doctor will perform a pap smear, pelvic exam and breast exam, which are all preventive measures that will check for signs of infection, growths, abnormalities and cancer. An annual mammogram is also recommended for women beginning at 45 years old or those at high risk of breast cancer due to family history. 

Dermatologist visit 

An annual visit to your dermatologist is a great way to stay proactive about your health by screening for different types of skin conditions. During the visit, your dermatologist will review your medical and family history with you, answer any questions you may have and perform a skin cancer screening. The screenings will evaluate any suspicious lesions, moles or spots on your skin. 

During this global pandemic, it is more important than ever manage your health and make sure you are getting the care you need. BCBSM advisors can help you understand the details of your plan, and MI Blues Perspectives will continue to provide health tips to let you take control of your care. 

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