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March 01, 2016 - Jay Nichols

Ways to lower your out-of-pocket health care expense

1. Stay in the network. Save big when you use a doctor, hospital or facility that's part of the Cigna HealthCare Shared Administration OAP network. Chances are, there's a network doctor or facility in your neighborhood. It's easy to find quality, cost-effective care right where you need it. In fact, one thing you won't find is higher costs.

2. Ask before you go. Your primary care doctor may be in the Plan's network, but that doesn't mean all other providers you may be referred to are participating. When your doctor gives you a referral, don't be afraid to ask if the facility, lab, or specialist is on our network. If you don't, you may unintentionally go out-of-network and be surprised by a higher out-of-pocket cost than expected.

3. Know your plan - inside and out. If you go out-of-network for care, the costs can add up quickly. That's because you're paying full price -not the discounted price an in-network doctor or facility has agreed to accept. Plus, if the physician or facility charges more than what the Plan will pay for out-of-network care, you will have to pay the difference.

4. Go with the Cigna Care Designation. You may save even more when you choose a Cigna Care Designation doctor or a Centers of Excellence hospital. Doctors in 22 medical specialties, including primary care, who achieve top results on measures of health outcomes and cost-efficiency earn the Cigna Care Designation. Centers of Excellence hospitals have also received recognition for quality and cost-efficiency for certain procedures. Look for these designations in the online directory.

5. Get preventive care. Checkups, Immunizations, and screenings can help detect or prevent serious diseases and keep you in tip-top shape. Your primary care physician can help you coordinate what tests and shots are right for you, based on your age, gender and family history. Refer to the Plan brochure for specific benefits and coverage details.

6. Use an in-network urgent care center. If you need medical attention, but it's not severe or life threatening, you may not have to go to an emergency room (ER). An urgent care center provides quality care like an ER but can save you hundreds of dollars. Visit an urgent care center for things like minor cuts, burns and sprains, fever and flu symptoms, joint or lower back pain and urinary tract infections.

* Average urgent care center cost: $135

* Average hospital ER cost: $1,553

Health Risk Assessment (additional incentives in 2016 in the High Option Plan)

Please don't forget to complete a new Health Risk Assessment in 2016. A free HRA is available under the Personal Health Record tab at The HRA is an online program that analyzes your health-related responses and gives you a personalized plan to achieve specific health goals. Your HRA profile provides information to put you on a path to good physical and mental health.

If one covered member completes the HRA, you may choose one of the following:

* be enrolled in the Self Only CignaPlus Savings discount dental program and we will pay the CignaPlus Savings discount dental premium for the remainder of the calendar year,

* a $40 CVS gift card, or

* a wearable activity tracking device.

If two or more covered family members (including the member) complete the HRA, you may choose one of the following:

* family CignaPlus Savings discount dental program,

* a $40 CVS gift card per person (limit two cards per enrollment), or

* a wearable activity tracking device (limit two devices per enrollment).

Note: You must be 18 years old or older to be eligible to complete the HRA. Individuals age 13 and older can access other services offered by CareAllies/Cigna.

CignaPlus Savings is a discount dental program that provides members access to discounted fees with participating dental providers. For more information on this program, call 877 521-0244 or visit