Help lower out-of-pocket medical costs

March 2023

Lower medical costs have become a holy grail in the U.S. as individuals to insurers to employers seek affordable healthcare. In Your provider network: Why it matters, we discussed the relationship between lower costs and in-network providers. Another way your employees can lessen the out-of-pocked impact, and save your organization money, is knowing where to go for care.

Promote care options to employees

Encourage employees to know their care options in the Kansas City metro before they need them.

We have the resources to help.

  • Share the article below by cutting and pasting it into an employee email or adding it to your company’s intranet site.
  • The Know Where To  Go For Care Playbook is packed with communications materials and a timeline for getting the message out to employees over four weeks.

Lower your out-of-pocket medical cost by choosing care options wisely

Getting the right care at the right place and the right time is good for your health and can save you money. Learn about your care options – and what is near your home, office, and school – before you need it. Where you go depends on the nature and severity of your condition.

Urgent care versus emergency room. More than 80% of emergency room visits can be handled at an urgent care center and for a lower out-of-pocket cost. That’s because you’ll get just one bill per urgent care visit versus several bills for physicians and facility when you visit an emergency room. Urgent care centers generally have extended hours, offer x-ray, labs, and can treat small lacerations. There also are specialty urgent cares that treat orthopedic sprains and fractures. 

Free standing imaging or infusion center versus hospital. When you need an MRI, CT scan, or drug infusion, use SmartShopper* to find a lower-cost, free-standing center, and earn a cash reward for doing so. Like urgent care centers, you’ll get just one bill when you use a free-standing imaging or infusion center versus several separate bills when you have these services at a hospital. Some specialty providers, such as gastroenterologists, rheumatologists, allergists, and pain management providers also do infusions in their offices.

Ambulatory surgical center (ASC) versus hospital. Save up to 40% when you use an ASC for a surgery or pain injection. Many procedures can be performed in an ASC, such as dental, bariatric, ENT, gastroenterology, orthopedic, gynecological, pain management, ophthalmological, plastic surgery, podiatry, neurological/spine, urological, and vascular services. Ask your provider where they perform procedures and choose an ASC over a hospital. If the ASC your provider uses is a SmartShopper* location, you can earn a cash reward for selecting it.

Virtual care versus office visit. Virtual care is a good option when you need care at night, on a weekend, when you can’t leave home, are traveling, or when your doctor is not available. It’s available 24/7 and can be used for minor issues like upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, or the flu.

Take the lead in choosing your care options

Learn more about care options at Know Where To Go and by reading your health plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage. It includes potential out-of-pocket costs, premiums, copayments, and deductibles. It’s available on your member portal at > Plan Benefits > Medical > Summary of Benefits.

*For eligible members.

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