Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

June 2011 Wellness Tip

Managing Health Care Spending

One aspect of being an informed health care consumer is being aware of your health care expenses. Once you know where you're spending your money, you can start to manage your spending by limiting unnecessary costs. Highmark gives you a variety of ways to monitor your health care spending, and they're all available online.

Under the "Your Spending" tab of the web site, you'll find a number of tools to help you track and manage your health care spending. One useful feature is a spending summary that gives you a handy "at-a-glance" look at your spending over the previous 30 days, including a list of your claim payments and member liabilities.

You can also get a better perspective on your health care decisions by comparing your usage to other people like you through the "Peer Group Comparison" feature. This tool looks at how much health care you use in three key categories: prescriptions, doctor visits and emergency room care. Then it highlights any areas in which you use more care than people who are similar to you.

Depending on the results, you may even get personalized suggestions on how to lower your spending. Suggestions may include choosing generic instead of name brand prescriptions, using in-network providers or contacting your Blues On Call Health Coach for care decision support service.

Another online tool, View Your Expense Summary, gives you a comprehensive look at plan and member costs based on your claims data. The summary includes savings/spending account information. It also outlines where you received care and how it was paid for, including payments you made out-of-pocket.

Highmark provides tools to become a more informed health care consumer and manage your health care expenses. To access these tools, log on to www.highmarkblueshield.com and click "Your Spending."