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Life Hacks: Health Insurance Edition

Spend enough time on the internet and you’re likely to come across a “life hack” or two. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, life hacks are shortcuts and tricks that make life easier.

Examples include:

  • Using a clothes pin to hold a nail while hammering;
  • Putting pancake batter in a squeeze bottle to cut down on drips and mess; and
  • Rubbing a walnut on damaged wood furniture to cover up dings.

The best life hacks solve common problems quickly and easily.  If only there were life hacks for the big things in life, right?  Well, you’re in luck, because today I’m giving away five of my best health insurance life hacks.

Contrary to popular belief, your health insurer actually wants you to know how to use your benefits. That’s because the right care, at the right place, at the right time is the most cost-effective kind of health care. It also results in fewer missed days of work and increased patient satisfaction.  In short, everyone wins when we’re all informed health care consumers, but it hasn’t always been easy to be a smart shopper.

To address this, insurers are collaborating with health care providers to improve the care experience, and with employers to implement meaningful workplace wellness programs. The goal of these efforts is to empower individuals to feel their best so they can be their best in the workplace. If your company isn’t experiencing these kinds of consumer-friendly health care changes, reach out to your insurance broker to see if there are existing programs you’re not utilizing, or if it’s time to modernize your benefits.

To get you started, here are five health insurance life hacks you can use to start living a healthier and more hassle-free life in 2016.

Life Hack #1: Take advantage of freebies.

Preventative benefits, as defined by the Affordable Care Act, are covered by most health care plans at 100 percent.  That means you can use these services without eating into your personal finances. So get a blood pressure screening and a flu shot! You’ll probably rest easier and be healthier the whole year.

Life Hack #2: Keep a doctor in your pocket.

In the past, when a sore throat or pink eye struck, there were few options other than going to the emergency room or waiting for the doctor’s office to open in the morning. Today, the nearest doctor may be just a few clicks away. Called telehealth, individuals can now use their smartphone, tablet or computer to have a live video visit with a doctor. One such service is LiveHealth Online. Doctors using LiveHealth Online can provide a diagnosis, treatment, and even write a prescription if needed. Best of all, telehealth visits are quite affordable. Many Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members already have access to LiveHealth Online as a part of their insurance benefits, and anyone can use the service simply by signing up at and paying with a credit card. Doctors on LiveHealth Online typically charge $49 per online medical visit.

Life Hack #3: Outsource time-consuming tasks to your EAP.

If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as a part of its benefits package, don’t overlook this resource.  EAP programs offer confidential information, support, and referral services to help you maximize your productivity and meet the challenges of modern life. This includes help with topics such as childcare, eldercare, personal finance and career resources. Learn about your EAP program today and reap the benefits all year long.

Life Hack #4: Use online tools to comparison shop.

It’s true that you rarely see price tags at the doctor’s office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a savvy health care consumer. Many insurers offer online tools to help you make more informed decisions when you’re shopping around for non-emergent care.  Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s cost estimator tool can be accessed on our member portal at It provides members with cost estimates based on the information they enter about their specific health insurance plan and health status. These estimates include potential out-of-pocket costs for care and information related to health care provider quality.

Life Hack #5: De-clutter by going mobile.

All those membership rewards cards, identification cards and credit cards have really bulked up our wallets. Shed that weight by going digital. Many health care providers, including Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, offer a mobile app for quick access to resources like an electronic copy of your membership card, as well tools to find a doctor, get directions, refill prescriptions and more. If your insurance is provided through Athem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, you can download our app at Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

For more life hacks and insurance tips, visit:

How to Use Insurer Online Tools So Your Employees Benefit

YouTube: Quick and Simple Life Hacks – Part 1


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Nobile is a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry whose experience includes time with Rush Prudential Health Plans, Aetna, and United Healthcare. Prior to joining Anthem, Nobile served as the Director of Sales and Account Management for the Midwest region at UniCare, a health benefits company based in Chicago and owned by Anthem’s parent company and also ran UniCare’s Eastern Region with offices.

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