Knowing Your Healthcare Benefits

Your healthcare coverage is one of the most important benefits you’ll receive in your lifetime, and it’s an excellent idea to educate yourself on your plan when it comes to getting the most out of your money.  Mental health or behavioral health care deals with a wide range of issues, from traditional counseling sessions to inpatient treatment for more serious concerns.  Researching what your plan can do for your mental health needs will prevent you from using up your benefit too quickly or being caught off guard by high co-pays.  Here are a few tips that will help you familiarize yourself with your plan’s mental health options:

1.) According to expert Kathleen Mills, you should always make plans to “attend your regular health care benefit signup meeting.”  Between the scheduled open discussion meetings and the packets or book of information given to you during your signup or re-enrollment, you’ll find all the facts and numbers you’ll need to know when it comes to the mental care benefits offered by your selected insurance plan.  If you are concerned about asking mental health questions in front of co-workers, you can always approach your presenter after the meeting and quietly ask one-on-one.

2.) Don’t be afraid to seek answers.  There is a toll-free 1-800 number listed on the back of your physical health care card – and likely your information book as well – that will put you in touch with benefit representatives.  These individuals can explain confusing clauses, advise you on the best ways to locate a local provider, and how to submit claims for things like medication.

3.) Familiarize yourself with medical terms as they relate to your benefits and policy. Some plans have different payouts and requirements for inpatient care – sessions that require hospitalization – and outpatient care, which are the traditional office sessions that last an hour or two, by comparison. Knowing the “jargon” will help you take control of your own medical treatment and anticipate what your plan will and will not assist with in terms of pay or reimbursement.

4.) Have a discussion with your provider and enlist their help to design a health care program that’s tailor-made for you.  Once you’re aware of what your co-insurance amounts will be, you can discuss a treatment schedule with your provider that works for both your emotional needs and budget concerns.  Providers are motivated to ensure your visits go smoothly for both professional concern and continuing business, and that means considering your personal requirements, both personal and financial.

Having stellar physical health care won’t do you much good if you allow vital mental health care benefits to sit unused.  Behavioral treatment is a feature that you’re likely already paying for, so doing a little digging to access value in your plan just makes sense.  According to the Mental Health Organization, over 450 million people suffer from some form of mental illness – when you use your mental health benefits, you can ensure you’re not part of that statistic.  Open your health care book, pick up the phone, or have a discussion with your benefits representative – a helpful treatment plan awaits.

Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.