How to Better Manage Health Care Costs
| 3 min read
Rick Notter is vice president, Individual Business Unit, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He joined Blue Cross in 2011 and has over 20 years of experience in the individual insurance business. A graduate of the University of Southern Indiana, Rick began his professional career as a television anchor and reporter in Indiana. He left his TV career and founded a sports newspaper covering Indiana University basketball and football, building it to a circulation of over 20,000 with subscribers in all 50 states and 21 foreign countries. After he sold the publication, Rick began his career in the insurance industry. Rick is the author of two books, the Hoosier Handbook and Sound Advice: Music’s Effect on Life, Health and Happiness. Rick has received awards from The Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, The Midwest chapter of the Radio and Television News Directors Association, The Indiana Psychological Association, The Indiana Dietic Association, Writer’s Digest, and The Next Generation Indie Book Awards. He is also a 3-time winner of the Evansville Freedom Festival Chili Cookoff. Rick currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Detroit Public Television and is a past board member of the Indiana Association of Health Underwriters, the College Sports Publishers Association, and the Monroe County (Indiana) YMCA. Rick has four children (two of whom live in Michigan) and three grandchildren. When not working, Rick enjoys spending time with his children, traveling, or playing golf.
- A high deductible plan has a low monthly premium but higher out-of-pocket costs. These members have the option of opening a health savings account (HSA) to supplement medical, dental, vision and pharmacy expenses. Online contribution calculators are available to explain how HSAs work in different situations.
- A low deductible plan has a higher monthly premium but lower out-of-pocket costs. Paying more upfront offers expansive coverage with predictable pricing.
- Bill the correct insurance: Make sure medications are billed and covered under the right plan. Check what drug tiers are included to determine potential copay or coinsurance. If available, some out-of-pocket costs may be paid using secondary coverage.
- Buy in bulk: Individuals with ongoing prescriptions should opt for a 60- or 90-day supply of medications. This limits pharmacy visits and minimizes copays.
- Buy generic: These drugs aren’t name-brand but can deliver the same results at a fraction of the price.
- Combine doses: It’s much less expensive to take one pill instead of two. If possible, ask a primary care physician to prescribe a stronger dosage that can be taken less frequently.
- Review the drug list: Each insurance plan has a list or formulary consisting of drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It informs patients of any special requirements or limitations such as quantity restrictions or a need for prior authorization.
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