Dr. Roger Muller, Medical Director for United HealthCare of the Pacific Northwest, joined us to share why all consumers should do their research before confirming a medical appointment and procedure. Only 14% of Americans understand how their co-pay, deductible and out-of-pocket expenses work. That is why it is increasingly important for health plans to provide educational resources and tools to help consumers make informed decisions that will help you maximize your health benefits plan, protecting both your health and your pocket book.
One way is to help people more easily monitor, manage and understand their health benefits and expenses, so that they can make more informed decisions regarding the quality and cost of their care.
Online resources - such as UnitedHealthcare's myHealthcare Cost Estimator (myHCE) - provides cost and quality information of local care providers for a number of services, such as an MRI, knee replacement or even having a baby, based on your zip code and your benefit plan. The service, which can also be used on your smartphone, includes price comparisons for more than 500 common medical services.
myHCE also offers care providers' care quality information through the UnitedHealth Premium Designation program, which uses evidence-based, medical society, and national industry standards with a transparent methodology and robust data sources to evaluate physicians across 25 specialties.
Most insurance carriers also have mobile apps, allowing you 24/7 access to registered nurses, the ability to locate a nearby in-network physician or hospital, and access to personal health benefits information. UnitedHealthcare's Health4Me app, for example, also has an "Easy Connect" feature, letting users select the type of questions they have about their claims and benefits, and request a callback on their mobile device from a UnitedHealthcare customer service representative.