Young adult health care

Adulting 101: Figuring Out Health Insurance

There are a lot of parts of adulthood that are confusing. Paying bills, doing taxes, scheduling appointments and even remembering to eat on a regular basis can feel like trying to fly an airplane with no training.

And managing your health care is no different. Deductibles, co-pays, PPOs and HMOs: what do these words even mean? As you get older, you are going to have to eventually figure out what this whole “health insurance thing” is. But fortunately, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has made it as simple as possible for you.

Download the app

If you have Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network insurance coverage (either on your own or under a parents’ plan), take a few minutes of your day to download the BCBSM mobile app and register for an online member account. Doing so, you can:

  • Keep track of your deductibles, maximums and copays (basically, what you will have to pay when getting health care services)
  • Look up your coverage for specific health care services, like if you need to see a chiropractor or surgeon
  • Find a doctor near you (really helpful if you’re going away for school!)
  • View or change your primary care physician
  • See if your plan covers certain prescription drugs, and what they cost

If you think you can’t register yourself online or use the app because you are still on your parents’ insurance plan, you’re wrong. Every individual (18 years and older) who is covered under a plan can download this app and register themselves.

Find a doctor

As a young adult, there are multiple benefits to registering yourself as a member online – especially if you no longer live at home. By downloading the BCBSM mobile app and registering yourself for an online membership, you can locate a doctor near your new home or campus and check your coverage for certain health care services without having to go through your parents.

When choosing a primary care doctor, first consider what you need and want. For instance, does he or she:

  • Accept your insurance?
  • Have a convenient office location?
  • Fluently speak your language?

Schedule an appointment

After finding a doctor that’s covered by your plan by using the app, you can call to schedule an appointment. Here are some tips for scheduling an appointment:

  • When you call to set up an appointment, let the office know if you’re a new patient. Let them know if you’re sick and need an appointment quickly.
  • Tell them the reason for your visit. Be specific.
  • Have your insurance information handy.
  • Find out what you should prepare for the visit.
  • If you’d like to see a certain doctor, make sure you know his or her name.

Check your prescription status

Whether you have moved out or away at school for the year, the BCBSM app will let you check your prescription statuses and other useful features for a newly autonomous young adult. The app will also give you an estimated cost.

Online visits

Some doctor’s offices offer virtual visits directly through the provider. Blue Cross offers a similar service through a smartphone app that you can download.

Blue Cross Online Visits℠ allows you to talk with a U.S board-certified doctor using your smartphone, tablet or computer about minor illnesses and injuries, like a cold, the flu, strains or sprains. You can also talk to a licensed therapist or psychiatrist about any challenges you’re facing. Before you get started, ensure your plan includes access to Blue Cross Online Visits℠ and services – do this through the mobile app. Learn more about how to get started with online visits here.

Insurance terms to know

Learning the language of health insurance might feel like entering a foreign country. Here are some basic terms to get familiar with:

  • Deductible: The amount you owe for covered health care services before your health care plan begins to pay.
  • HMO: A type of health insurance plan called a Health Maintenance Organization. All of your health care services need to originate through a primary care physician. That means that you need a referral before seeing a specialist (except in an emergency).
  • PPO: A type of health insurance plan called a Preferred Provider Organization. This plan gives you more flexibility. You can go to any health care professional you want without a referral (although it might cost a lot more if you go to one out of your network).

Downloading the BCBSM mobile app and registering yourself for an online member account will allow you to manage your own health care and take another step forward into the world of growing up.

Adulting might be hard, but at least your health care doesn’t have to be.

Looking for more information about how to use your health plan? MIBluesPerspectives is ready to help:

Photo credit: Helena Lopes

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