Three Ways to Use Your Health Plan to Boost Your Well-Being in 2023

By Dr. Donna O’Shea, Chief Medical Officer of Population Health, UnitedHealthcare ~

By this time each year, many Coloradoans have likely made – and broken – a wellness-related resolution, such as ramping up exercise or eating more fruits and vegetables. In fact, one study found that around 80% of resolutions end in failure, often within the first few months of the year.

To help avoid this, try tapping into resources, including ones available through your employer or health plan. For most people, their health plan benefits began in January, regardless of whether they switched to a new plan during open enrollment or stayed with the plan they had in 2022. This is an opportune time for people to take stock of their health, while using their insurance plan to help get healthier. 

Here are three strategies to consider, whether your coverage is through an employer, a state-based exchange, or a government-sponsored programs such as Medicare or Medicaid: 

  • Take advantage of preventive visits. While plans vary, many have eliminated out-of-pocket costs, such as copays or deductibles, for certain preventive screenings. This may include coverage for colonoscopies, mammograms and type 2 diabetes screenings. Likewise, some vaccinations for children and adults may be covered with no cost-sharing, including shots for the flu, measles and shingles. Given the important connection between mental health and physical health, some plans may include coverage for some behavioral health visits to help treat depression, anxiety or stress. Vision plans usually include coverage for an annual eye exam, which may help detect and manage certain chronic conditions, and dental insurance often includes two cleanings per year to help prevent or treat oral health issues.      
  • Reach for rewards: A vast majority of workers have access to well-being programs through their employer and a similar number have it via a Medicare Advantage plan. However, only 23% of employees use these wellness initiatives. To help change that, some programs are offering rewards for certain activities, such as filling out a health survey, getting a biometric screening, meeting movement goals or tracking sleep. Plus, instead of virtual coins or rewards that can only be used to help pay for medical care, some programs are allowing members to earn prepaid debit cards that may be worth hundreds of dollars annually — that can be spent however they wish.
  • Save on a digital fitness app. Over half of Americans say they exercise at home, a habit that likely became more widespread due to COVID-19. Whether your fitness goal is focused on improving strength, enhancing endurance or finding new levels of flexibility, a digital fitness app may be helpful. To help gain access, some health plans now include subsidized subscriptions to digital fitness apps featuring thousands of live and on-demand workouts. In some cases, a subscription to a digital fitness app may be available to members at no additional cost.

Whether your goal this year is to improve your physical, mental or financial health (or all three), considering these tips can help you take advantage of resources that may be included with your health plan.

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