Using Health Insurance

Here are some tips and other helpful suggestions about how to get the most value from your health insurance. Download and fill out this Quick Reference Guide to have all your important health insurance information, doctors’ names and in-network facilities handy to save you time, especially in case of an emergency.

Waiting for your new insurance card

  • A letter will arrive from your health insurance company with your new card.
  • Make sure to notify your health insurance company and the Marketplace if your address changes.
  • You will have to pay your first month’s premium before you can start using your coverage.
  • If you need to see a doctor before your card comes, call your health insurance company.

Using your insurance card

You need these numbers to know what network you are in. Have this card on hand when you call your doctor.

Insurance Card Example

Choosing a doctor

  • It’s recommended that you select a primary care provider (PCP) who can help keep up with your health history.
  • Some plans may require you to select a primary care provider.
  • Visit your health insurance company’s website to see a list of doctors that are in-network.
  • You can also call your health insurance company to find more information.

Tips for making the right choice

Choosing a doctor in your health insurance company’s network will save you money. To choose a doctor or get help, call your health insurance company.

  • Does someone in my family have special health needs?
  • How far do I want to travel to see a doctor?
  • Are they accepting new patients?
  • Do I need a doctor who speaks a certain language?

Prepare for your first visit

It’s a good idea to prepare for your first doctor visit. Good questions to ask when you make your appointment:

  • Do I need to fill out forms before I come?
  • Do I need to bring my medications?
  • Will my health insurance company pay for my visit? Will there be a copay?
  • Are there any preventive services I need? These services help you stay healthy and are often free.

Asking your doctor good questions

  • How can I improve my health?
  • What do I need to do after I leave?
  • Why is it important for me to do what you are recommending?
  • Do I need to come back for a follow-up visit?
  • Is there a generic option for my medication? Generics can save you money.
  • It’s okay to take notes.

Going to the pharmacy

  • Your doctor may want you to take certain medicine that needs a prescription.
  • Before you go, confirm that your plan will cover your specific medication.
  • You will have to pick up the medicine at a pharmacy.
  • You may need to bring a prescription, your health insurance card and a photo ID to your pharmacy.

Understanding your prescription

Your doctor may give you a prescription you have to get filled regularly. This is called a refill.


What to do in an emergency

  • If you have a life-threatening condition, call 9-1-1.
  • If you are hurt but it is not life threatening, call your doctor or health insurance company. They will tell you what to do and where to go.
  • You can ask your doctor or health insurance company what your options are ahead of time so you can be prepared. This can save you time and money.