How I chose our new health insurance plan

My husband starts a new job today! He was given a packet of information to review prior to orientation – that information included details on health insurance options. I happen to be one of those people that dissect insurance companies, medical bills, medical treatments and prescription options/cost down to the finest letter. I don’t care if my insurance company pays 100% of the entire bill, I am going to break it down to ensure I am taking care of my insurance, the way I want them to take care of me.

I can’t tell you HOW many times my insurance company has received a claim that included errors – some costly, some not so costly. Regardless, it is up to us, to review our statements and make sure our claims are not being slammed, crammed or inflated. If we just let it all slide by, we will eventually pay for it in the form of higher costs.

When an insurance company covers prescriptions – let’s say they cover everything but your assigned $10 copay – do you take the time to call pharmacies to ensure you are getting the best price? Do you attempt to save your insurance company money? If not, you should!

When I called around to check pricing of the prescriptions used by my family on a regular basis, I called CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. Most were fairly comparable – with the exception of Walgreens. I was STUNNED at how much higher their prices were than the other stores.

I’m not sure about your area, but around here, wherever you see a CVS, there’s usually a Walgreens within spitting distance – or there is a plan for one to be very close by.

How is that possible?

How can Walgreens compete for the same customers as CVS, yet have prescription prices so much higher?

It’s because customers RARELY check the prices of their prescription – they simply leave it up to the insurance company to take care of all that sort of stuff.

That’s so bad!

Doesn’t it seem reasonable that actions (or lack of action) on the part of the consumer help fuel higher insurance costs?

I bet if YOU were paying the entire cost of those prescriptions out of your own pocket, you’d do a little shopping around. Wouldn’t you? But you ARE paying for them – in a roundabout way.

Anyway – back to the topic at hand. How I managed to choose between Aetna and Cigna is with the help of NCQA. NCQA is responsible for grade cards given to insurance providers. When I began digging through the “Report Cards” of both providers, the choice became clear almost immediately. Aetna received the higher rating overall.

Further investigation into what actual customers were saying about each company, sealed the deal. More customers were happy with the coverage, the service, long-term health coverage AND wellness coverage.

If you’re faced with a decision of having to choose a health insurance company, I would highly recommend you start your research with NCQA – The National Committee for Quality Assurance

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