Insurance and Your Well Being, America’s Top Insurance Lawyer Offers These Tips

April 15, 2010

"You've just found out that your insurance co-pays or coinsurance to see your physician are going to be higher this year. You may think, "I'll just not see my doctor unless I get really sick". This way of thinking may reduce a few co-pays to save money but a recent study found that deferring regular care is actually increasing the amount of money and time patients are spending for inpatient care, says Frank N. Darras, the nation's top insurance lawyer.

Darras suggests:

  • If you are not well, do not delay, go see your doctor.The Emergency Room is expensive, so do not use it as your primary physician, it will cost you more in one ER visit than going to see a primary care doctor or urgent care.
  • If you have limited funds or no health insurance, visit walk-in clinics at pharmacies or drug stores for ear infections, strep throat or cold-like symptoms but don't use them in place of a primary care physician or specialist for chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma. See www.DarrasLaw.com.
  • If you don't have a primary care physician, make an appointment with one when you are well for a physical; don't wait until you are sick. It is much easier to get into see a physician when you are already an established patient.
  • Have a yearly physical, if you don't have health insurance speak to the physician's billing office about discounts for paying in cash and payment plans for costly lab bills.
  • If you have insurance, contact your insurer to find out how they cover well visits versus sick visits so you know the costs involved.
  • Maintain or begin a healthy lifestyle (i.e. stop smoking, exercise within your limits, monitor your diet, reduce stress).
  • Beware of pills, berries or other "cure-alls" promising you wellness.
  • Don't try to diagnose yourself using a website- you may wind up thinking you have a serious condition when in fact it is minor.
  • Contact your insurance carrier to find out what kind of programs and/or discounts they have to promote wellness and use them.

Insurance companies understand the importance of having healthy members and have created programs to keep them healthy. Promoting healthy habits reduces high-dollar claims they need to pay, says Darras.

Even if you have to pay a little more now than in the past for regular doctor's visits, those costs are minimal compared to a major illness or condition that is not diagnosed and treated in time.