Perks! Discounts! Free stuff! It sounds like a Costco membership or an animated banner ad, but it’s actually your health insurance company.
We went through and found some of the coolest stuff that health insurance companies are giving their customers. Your health insurer isn’t listed here? Don’t fret. Check out our info at the end of the article on how to find perks at your health insurance company.
It’s in your health insurance company’s best interests to ensure that you’re healthy, and what better way to do that than track your every move?
But not in a creepy way! Instead, they’re using fitness trackers to track how many steps you take. Never had a fitness tracker before? You can think of them like fancy pedometers, but some of them offer extra features like heart rate monitors.
Oscar, a health insurance startup based in New York, offers a free Misfit Flash to their customers. The Misfit Flash can track how many steps you take. After setting a step goal, which can be anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 steps depending on your normal activity levels, Oscar will pay you $1 for reaching your goal. You can earn up to $20 per month, redeemable as Amazon credit.
Fitness trackers are also making their way into corporate health plans. While not every company will give you a fitness tracker for free, they may offer you a discount for providing and using your own.
Gym fee reimbursements
Gym fees can be really expensive. Luckily, your health insurance company wants you to go, and some of them will help you get there by reimbursing your gym fees.
Oscar offers to pay up to $400 of gym fee reimbursements per year for their customers and up to $200 for any covered spouse.
UnitedHealthcare has a reimbursement program limited to specific partners. Visit one of their partners twelve times in a month and get $20, which can be deposited directly in your bank account or credited at your gym.
Blue Cross Blue Shield offers the "Fitness Your Way" program, which allows their customers to pay $25 per month for access to over 8,000 gym locations nationwide.
Free calls to doctors and nurses
Ever get sick and not know if it’s serious enough to warrant a trip to the urgent care center? Some health insurance companies offer a free phone support line that will connect you directly to a doctor or nurse. You can explain your symptoms and they’ll let you know if you need to go see a doctor in person.
Oscar will let you call a doctor directly from their app. Tricare has a Nurse Advice Line that will connect you with a registered nurse. UnitedHealthcare, SecurityHealth, and Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Federal Employee Program also feature support lines to registered nurses.
More on health insurance from PolicyGenius:
Free preventative care
Thanks the Affordable Care Act, all group or individual health insurance plans purchased or created after March 23, 2010 have to cover all of the cost of preventative care. Thanks a lot, Obama!
What kind of preventative care is covered? Diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol tests. Breast, cervical, and colon cancer screening. Health education counseling (like help quitting smoking). Routine vaccines, flu shots (basically anything with a needle). Screening for healthy pregnancies and well-baby and well-child visits. HIV and STD screening. Osteoporosis screening. Obesity screening.
Seriously, if it has the word "screening" in it, it’s probably covered.
How to find perks at your company
Want awesome perks from your health insurance company? Give them a call and see what they offer. It might seem like we’re passing the buck here, but trust us - it’s really hard to find information about all the different plans that the health insurance companies offer. A lot of this information is hidden on PDFs somewhere on the insurer’s website.
In fact, one of the only reasons Oscar is listed here so many times is because their website actually tells you what they offer in plain English, making it super easy to find their perks.
If you purchased your health insurance plan on the Marketplace, you can check out your info sheet, which will list all of the important information about your plan. These are standard across all health insurance companies offering plans on the Marketplace, so you can easily compare plans.
Work at a big company? Contact your HR department. They’ll know everything there is to know about your benefits. And talking to another human being about it is a lot easier than searching through a thousand PDF files.
Photo: A. Davey