Health insurance metals help people understand the amount of cost-sharing that goes on between the plan holder and the insurance company in any given plan. (Need a refresher on how these costs work? Check out our health insurance lingo blog post here!)
Remember that the exact amount of cost-sharing can vary from plan to plan. And at each metal level, you’ll pay a different percentage of total yearly costs of your care, while your insurance company will pays the rest. Total costs include premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs like co-payments and co-insurance.
As a rule, the less the insurance company pays in cost-sharing, the lower the cost of the plan. So, Bronze plans typically have the lowest monthly premium costs and highest costs when you need care. Monthly premium costs generally increase according to metal levels. Silver, Gold, and Platinum cost more each month in premium payments but will have lowers costs when you need care. While your monthly premium price is often the top consideration when purchasing health insurance, it’s important to consider the deductible and cost-sharing as well, since these two factors can impact the total amount of out-of-pocket healthcare costs you might incur in a plan year. The total cost of care is what really matters.
When choosing a plan, you’ll want to think about how much you (and your dependents) are likely to use your insurance coverage. Consider things like how often you see a doctor, what medications you take, and whether you foresee scheduling any elective surgery during the year to come. If you think you’ll use your healthcare plan frequently or have prescription medications you take regularly, you might want to consider a higher metal level that offers lower deductibles and makes your costs easier to predict (like a Gold or Platinum plan). If you don’t expect needing many healthcare services, a lower-premium/higher cost-share plan might be a better fit.
One thing that’s important to know is that ALL Health Options’ plans in ALL metal categories offer $0 cost-share preventive care, including yearly wellness checks. Many plans also offer an array of low-to-no-cost benefits that help offset many healthcare expenses (like wellness visits, prescription benefits, and vaccines), even for people with chronic conditions. All non-HSA plans offer Amwell® urgent care telehealth visits with $0 cost-sharing. So, whether you choose Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum, you can find a plan that meets your budget and your needs while giving you peace of mind and helping to keep you and your family healthy.
Beyond routine care and wellness, one of the major reasons for having health insurance is to protect yourself and your family in case of serious illness or injury. At Health Options, our medical management approach ensures that you also have a team of healthcare experts at your side in times of a serious medical crisis. In addition, our Care Managers are here for everyday wellness questions and at every step of recovery after a major medical incident.
Our Care Management Team partners with local agencies to find the help our Members need, from financial assistance to transportation, housing, and other issues affecting wellness and recovery. On-staff medical, pharmacy and healthcare experts help Members access medication and durable medical equipment, receive authorization support and assistance with provider outreach, and drug formulary education. The team also makes outbound calls to our Members to assist with chronic illness support or to provide post-discharge coordination from hospital stays. This collaborative approach to medical management focuses on improving care, creating positive health outcomes, and reducing the total cost of care.
What does a medical management approach look like to our Members? On a day-to-day basis, our in-house pharmacy team keeps Members updated about drug recall changes in medication availability and ways to access prescription medications at lower costs. Our team will also reach out to encourage immunizations, wellness visits, and other low-cost, or $0 cost-share benefits that can help our Members live their healthiest lives. In cases of hospitalizations and transitions to home, our medical management’s Site of Care Program offers Members the option to transition certain medications and infusions to a preferred site of care, including in-home care.
If a Member needs extra care for a particular condition, our team is instrumental in securing assistance. For example, one Member of our asthma outreach program had concerns about her condition combined with possible COVID-19 symptoms when the virus first emerged. Her COVID-19 symptoms kept her from seeing her primary care provider. After using a walk-in clinic for testing to determine she was COVID-19 negative, she continued to have a cough, low-grade fever, and fatigue. Our Care Management team was able to quickly find her an in-network pulmonologist who treated her with antibiotics for suspected pneumonia. She also had her asthma medications adjusted, and her condition improved.
Our hands-on strategies have resulted in more than $12.1+ million saved through Care Management programs since 2017, a 48 percent total reduction in our hospital readmission rate from 2018 to 2020. Our Script Saver program, led by in-house pharmacists, provided personal outreach to Members that led to out-of-pocket savings of $98,000 on medications in 2020. All of these efforts combined help improve health and reduce costs for our Members.
Call us if you have a question about prescription drug costs, need support for an upcoming medical procedure, or have a serious medical crisis. Our medical management team is in your corner, and they can be reached through Member Services at (855)624-6463, or use our secure email messaging.