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It Pays To Be Healthcare Literate

Healthcare isn’t just about getting the right care at the right place at the right time…it’s about getting it at the right price, too.
Yes, in a perfect world, patients would have ample time to thoroughly research and explore all different kinds, and costs, and options for care. But it’s not a perfect world and time doesn’t always allow that to happen. What if your doctor tells you that you need further tests, or your child has an earache?  The kneejerk reaction might be to go to the closest healthcare facility or head to the hospital/ER. But those decisions could prove costly.
Take, for example, a friend who was recently at his primary care doctor and told he needed to get an MRI. The doctor said he could go downstairs and get it done. So, he did…and a couple weeks later received a bill for over $2,000. What he didn’t know is had he done a little research he could have gone to a standalone facility and come out paying less than half of that.
Or, for a coworker whose daughter was sick and had a nasty earache. Our co-worker’s husband suggested she take their daughter to the ER (where he knew/felt she would receive the most highly qualified and attentive care). But instead of acting on the kneejerk reaction of just GOING, she took a step back, downloaded an app from her insurance provider, quickly-researched care and costs, and found her daughter could get the SAME level of care at their local retail clinic for just $50.
Healthcare literacy and utilizing available resources are two of the best (and easiest) ways to ensure you get the care you need, when/where you need it, and at a price you can afford. Not sure where to go? Ah, behold, the power of the internet!
Most plans offer apps or sites designated to help participants get the most from their program. So be sure to check with yours.
If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to start a conversation on our Member Forum or reach out to your member experience leader.

Patty Starr bio image

About the author

Patty Starr

Patty Starr is president and CEO of Health Action Council and is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the organization--build stronger, healthier communities where business can thrive. 

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