Make most of your health plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 10, 2015


At the beginning of a new year, many of us make resolutions to be healthier and maintain better habits: to lose weight, stop smoking, or exercise regularly. If you’ve recently enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace or are considering signing up, it’s a perfect time to think about your resolution of good health and understand how healthcare coverage can help you achieve this goal.

By understanding the benefits available to you and how to use them, you can make the most of your health coverage and get on the road to better health.


How can health insurance help me?

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, those who are uninsured are less likely to receive the medical care they need, more likely to die early, and more likely to have poor health status compared to their insured counterparts. Health insurance can give you better access to the medical services you and your family need to be healthy.

Healthcare coverage helps pay for doctor visits and hospital care and can help with the cost of certain medications. It covers medical visits, treatments and procedures that you may need when you are sick or injured and preventive services, such as wellness exams, immunizations and screenings that help you to stay healthy. Preventive services provided by “in-network” providers are covered without any copayments, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs.

Most health plans help pay for services including:

• Outpatient care—the care you get without being admitted to a hospital;

• Inpatient care—the care you receive in the hospital;

• Trips to the emergency room;

• Care before and after your baby is born;

• Treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders;

•  Prescription drugs;

•Lab tests – including diagnostic imaging like x-rays or blood tests that can provide important information about your health;

• Dental care and vision care for children; and

•  Care for pre-existing conditions.


How can I access benefits?

All health plans provide a summary of benefits, which includes examples of the services covered by the plan and the costs associated with those services. This information will help you plan your and your family’s care.

Maximizing your health coverage starts with understanding where to go for the care you need, when you need it. Your primary care provider is your source for most preventive healthcare, screenings and non-emergency sick care. Before visiting your doctor, a health clinic, or hospital of your choice, be sure to check your health plan’s website to find out if the provider is included in your plan’s network. You also can call the doctor’s office or hospital directly to find out if they accept your health plan. Using “in network” providers helps keep your out-of-pocket healthcare costs lower.


Andalusia Regional Hospital Can Help

Open enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace is available until Feb. 15, 2015. If you are enrolling in health insurance for the first time or re-enrolling and have questions, Andalusia Regional Hospital is ready to help. We have Certified Application Counselors (CACs) onsite to support you in the application process.

Contact us today for help. You can call us toll-free at 1-888-982-9144 or email us at to ask questions or make an appointment with a CAC.

You can also visit us online at for more information.


Stephen Selzer is CEO of Andalusia Regional Hospital.