It’s a new year, and for many, this means a new start on health insurance. If you switched to a new plan, it most likely began on Jan. 1, 2019. If you are on the same plan you had last year, any changes to your coverage and benefits typically take effect with the New Year. And, if your health plan has a deductible, it resets at the beginning of each year. With that in mind, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is offering some tips to get the most out of your healthcare coverage and keep your out-of-pock-et costs as low as possible. Stay In Your Network Make sure you are getting care from doctors, clinics, labs and other facilities that are in the network for your health plan. You will pay less out of pocket for care when you see in-net-work healthcare providers. Remember, not all health plans, even those from the same insurer, use the same provider network. Check before you make an appointment to make sure you’re staying in network. When in doubt, call Customer Service for your plan to find out if a healthcare provider is in your plan’s network. For Blue Cross customers, this is the number on your member ID card. Blue Cross customers can also check the Blue Cross network directory online at www.bcbsla. com/FindCare, or use the BCBSLA mobile app to get up-to-date information on providers in network for your plan. Find a Doctor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana www.bcbsla.com

Search for doctors, hospitals and other healthcare professionals near and far. Have a Primary Care Provider It’s important to find and regularly see a primary care provider to treat most of your health needs when you are sick or injured. A primary care provider is typically an internal medicine, family medicine, general practice or geriatric medicine provider for adults or a pediatrics provider for children.

A primary care provider can help you stay on top of your health history over time, and can help coordinate your care to see specialists, have screenings or get tests as your health changes through the years.

And, getting treated in a primary care provider’s office usually costs less than ER, urgent care or specialty care. Choose the Right Care Where you go and who you see for treatment is a big part of getting quality care while saving money. It’s good to see a primary care provider for most of your health needs, but there will be times when you need care outside of office hours or if you can-not get an appointment. At any time, if you are having a health emergency, you should go to the nearest emergency room for treatment. Urgent care centers and retail clinics, such as those inside pharmacies, are also an option to get treatment for acute health needs that aren’t serious emergencies. Many health plans are offering telehealth services to give customers more ac-cess to care after hours or when they do not want to leave home to get treated for minor health conditions. Telehealth visits usually cost less than the ER or urgent care, and this is an effective way to treat routine health needs like cough and cold, flu symptoms, bladder infections, pink eye or stomach bugs. Blue Cross’ telehealth service for 24/7 online doctor visits is BlueCare, and customers can have an appointment using a com-puter, smartphone, tablet or any internet-connected device with a camera. Go to www.BlueCareLA. com or get the BlueCare (one word) mobile app for Android and Apple devices to sign up and have online doctor visits if you need them.

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