INDIANAPOLIS—Now that 2023 has officially begun, many Hoosiers are now dealing with a renewed (or new) set of health insurance benefits. 

Those fresh plans can bring with them a new set of options, deductibles and possibly even restrictions. And, navigating them can be challenging.  

One big challenge people faced every year is how to get the most out of their insurance benefits while keeping costs down. With the costs of healthcare constantly growing, saving money can be hard to do. However, officials at Hancock Health say there are things you can do that can help. 

President and CEO of Hancock Health Steve Long said the first key to lowering costs is eliminating or minimizing the need to engage with the healthcare system in the first place. He said habits like healthy eating, exercise, limiting alcohol and smoking can all help to that end.  

However, when engaging with the healthcare industry, Long said it is important to remember that preventative care and emergency care carry two very different costs. Especially when it comes to what you could be paying out of pocket.   

“When you go to your primary care physician, they’ll go look at your history. And there’s a lot of things in our history that can really inform the doctor so they can say here’s something you should be aware of,” Long said. “It may be something somebody else may not need to worry about, but there’s a family history there. They can look at your condition and say here are the warning signs that I see, and they can give you that roadmap that will take you down that path to better health.”

Long said another tip for minimizing healthcare costs is to shop around. Just like clothes, goods or groceries, the price of health care varies depending on where you go. 

He added that it’s important to research the costs of treatments or procedures, ask questions and compare prices with different healthcare groups or facilities. Adding that you may end up saving a lot of money in the process.  

“The information is out there. People should go out there and they should look,” Long said. “So, if you need an MRI, there are ways to find out how much that’s going to cost simply by either calling the local healthcare facility or call around the region, go on their websites.”

Long says it’s also important to know your insurance plan and be aware of any changes. So often plans, networks, and deductibles can change, Long says it’s important to be aware of those changes before you walk into a hospital or healthcare facility.   

“The information is there. People should know their insurance, they should know what in-network providers are covered by their insurance, and they should go out and look at what the pricing is,” he said.