Paying for health care, made simpler

UnitedHealthcare is working to give employees more visibility into costs prior to receiving care, as well as better support when it comes time to pay for care.

Trimester member paying for healthcare

About 40% of surveyed Americans are confused by their medical bills.1 Uncertainty around when a bill will come, how much will be due and whether an individual can pay drives their frustration, according to the survey.1 To make matters worse, misunderstanding health insurance can also cost employees money in the form of out-of-network provider visits or uncovered procedures.

“People do not understand health insurance,” says George Dippel, president of Deft Research. “They only begin to understand health insurance when the bills come in. That’s not an ideal time to learn.”

With much of the workforce equating a good health plan with ease of use and affordability,2 it’s in an employer’s best interest to ensure their employees understand how to maneuver their benefits. 

Offer cost information

Giving employees a peek behind the curtain when it comes to costs can go a long way toward clearing up health plan confusion. Employers can provide their workforces more visibility into costs by offering health plans like SurestTM, a UnitedHealthcare company, which provides cost and coverage options in advance that can help factor into employees’ decisions about where to seek care.

Employers can also encourage employees to use the tools that may already be at their disposal. For instance, at UnitedHealthcare, the redesigned dashboard on allows for easier navigation and offers cost estimates for care.

Offer first-dollar coverage

Employers can support employees, many of whom are living paycheck-to-paycheck,3 by offering access to benefits which kick in right away. These first-dollar benefits may help employees get more value out of their employer-sponsored health plans.

That may look like health plans that offer $0 copays for network primary care, urgent care and virtual care visits. Or it may extend to prescriptions like the 5 vital medications — albuterol, epinephrine, glucagon, insulin and naloxone - which UnitedHealthcare offers eligible members with a $0 copay.

Granting coverage at the get-go may also include extending financial benefits to help remove some of the stress when it comes time to pay for bills. For instance, UnitedHealthcare offers Care Cash®, a pre-loaded debit card with up to $200 for individuals and $500 for families that can be used for certain health care expenses.

Rewarding employees for good health care choices may help spur better health outcomes and lower costs over the long-term. UnitedHealthcare Rewards, for instance, offers financial incentives for completing a health survey, getting 30 active minutes of fitness a day and tracking 14 days of sleep, among other healthy living activities. 

Offer financial assistance

Sometimes unexpected emergencies occur. Accidents happen, and  “surprise” bills come in the mail. With 40% of Americans not being able to cover a $400 emergency,4 it becomes especially important to provide support when unforeseen events happen.

Employers can have their employees’ backs by offering additional supplemental health plans for covered events like longer hospital stays, accidents and critical illness. UnitedHealthcare Benefit Ally bundles supplemental health products with an employee’s health plan to automatically pay out a financial benefit during an eligible medical event.

If an out-of-network bill comes in the mail, employees may also rest easier knowing that resources like Naviguard® can help them sort out their medical bills and get them resolved.

At the end of the day, UnitedHealthcare is working to make it easier for people to understand what they pay for health care, providing support and resources that aim to allow them to receive the right care, from the right providers, at the right cost.

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