Keeping Healthy: Health Care Homework

By Julia Rose

Published 03/27 2014 06:33PM

Updated 04/11 2014 10:52AM

The new health care system can be overwhelming especially with the deadline to register rapidly approaching. As you finish up those registration forms, there are some important things to keep in mind before hitting submit.
The deadline to sign up for New York State health care has been extended to mid-April. As you're searching for the perfect plan, it's important to do some research, most importantly, if your doctor participates in your new plan.
"It's very important that you check to make sure the plan that you think you want before you push the button that says ‘buy’ includes your doctor,” says Dr. Frank Dubeck, Chief Medical Officer of Medical Policy for Excellus.
Because if you don't, Dr. Dubeck says you could be facing some hefty out of pocket fees.
"It is ten thousand more out of pocket for a knee replacement in-network versus out-of-network,” said Dr. Dubeck. “Most of these plans have a significantly different out-of-pocket cost if you go to an out-of-network doctor versus if you go to an in-network doctor."
Many of us grow attached to our doctors and don't want to switch because of a new plan. To avoid this, Dr. Dubeck says it's extremely important to do your homework.
"So if you already have a doctor it's very important that he's in your plan,” says Dr. Dubeck. “That's not easily available just on the exchange website you may have to do some digging, you may have to call your doctor's office."
It may sound like a lot but the extra research could save you thousands on medical expenses.
"25 hundred more for a C-section in-network versus out-of-network, women don't like to change their OB so if all of a sudden your OB is not in plan and now you're pregnant, you're going to pay that much more for your delivery," said Dr. Dubeck.
So, don't wait. Pick up the phone, call your prospective plan and make sure your doctor falls into your new network and make sure you do so by mid-April.
Dr. Dubeck also says it's important to research how broad your new network is. He says you never know what type of medical specialists you may need so to play it safe, broader is better.

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