There can be hidden sources of wellness you can get from your health insurance, at no additional cost to you
The open enrollment period for health insurance is the only time yearly that you can compare various policies based on coverage and costs. And it’s also a good time to take a deeper look at other wellness benefits that may be part of your plan — and most don’t add to your costs, either. Have you missed the open enrollment window? If you’re past the open enrollment time or you don’t plan on switching your plan, it’s still worth taking the time to see what your provider offers to keep you healthy, according to Renee Daniel, senior account executive at Aetna, Inova’s Innovation Health partner.
“Do your research and know your benefits — I can’t say that enough,” Daniel says. “There are likely many great things on your plan that won’t cost you a dime, and they’re designed to help you and your family or partners stay healthy.”
These perks may differ depending on your insurance provider, but here are a few typical options that might be available.
- Health assessment: This is found with many plans, and Daniel says it’s a great tool for getting better knowledge about where you stand, health-wise. She says, “It helps you to think about tests you may need, like when was the last time you got your blood pressure checked, or had an annual physical? Plus, you’ll usually get credit for taking it, so it’s almost like you’re being paid to do an assessment.”
- Online learning tools: Here’s another common option in many plans, Daniel says. These are programs that guide you through education on topics like healthy eating, exercise guidelines, sleep, stress, and disease condition management.
- Fitness reimbursement: Many plans offer a cost-share program for gym membership, making it easy to increase your amount of activity and stay motivated to exercise. Employers may also offer discounts on memberships, reducing your costs even more.
- Healthy habit tracking: Maybe you want to increase the number of fruits and vegetables you consume, gradually work up to your first 5K, quit smoking, or just get enough sleep. Some insurance companies can help, with apps that track your progress, and even cheer you on. Some apps also enter you in “friendly competitions” with others as added motivation. Seeing improvement over time is helpful for sticking to your health goals.
- Nurse information lines: Many insurance companies have nurses available 24 hours a day for questions that can be handled via phone or email messaging. For example, how much medication to give a toddler who has a cold, or whether your symptoms warrant an urgent care visit.
Although open enrollment is a great time to find out about benefits like these — Daniel especially suggests attending your benefits fair — you can learn about them anytime. Look at your insurance provider’s website or call and talk to a benefits consultant, especially if you have a specific goal in mind, like weight loss, smoking cessation, chronic condition management, fertility, or others.
“There are so many robust programs with benefits that might be going unused,” says Daniel. “Maximize your insurance by taking advantage of these, without spending anything to do it.”
If you would like to rely on Inova for your health and medical needs and are able, please consider choosing a health plan that gives you access to Inova. We participate with many of the leading commercial and government insurance plans. View a list of health plans accepted at Inova.