Tools for being a good Healthcare Consumer

Healthcare is expensive but there are some tools and resources for you to be able to access the services you need in a cost efficient way.  Learn more by viewing this handout with cost saving considerations.

Health Savings Account Medical Plans encourage you to take a more active and informed roll in your healthcare decisions:  Each of us has unique healthcare needs.  We may cover only ourselves or our family, manage a chronic condition or just guard against a catastrophic medical event.  Are you just starting your career or can you glimpse retirement in the near future.  Bates will be considering adding a Health Savings Account qualified medical plan as another medical plan option in the future.

With a Health Savings Account (HSA) you can pay for current medical expenses or save for future expenses.  As the funds in your HSA are yours when you leave Bates it encourages you to shop for “value” when seeking health care.  Depending on your circumstances, a tax advantaged Health Savings Account plan may better suit your needs over our current traditional style medical plan.  View the basics of a Health Savings Account here.

Maine Patient Experience Matters: See how Maine patients rate their primary and specialty care providers.  Patient experience includes what happens to patients from the time they make an appointment to when an appointment is over – including any follow-up services. National research shows that patients having positive experiences with their health care providers are more likely to seek preventive care, and be more active and engaged in managing their health. By measuring patient experience, health care providers can identify areas for improvement and patients can make informed choices about health care providers.

Maine Health Management Coalition:  The Maine Health Management Coalition (MHMC) a a non-profit organization whose over 60 members include public and private employers, hospitals, health plans, and doctors working together to measure and report healthcare value. MHMC helps employers and their employees use this information to make informed decisions.

Quality rankings for hospitals and primary care physicians are available at

Alternatives to the Emergency Room:  For non-emergency situations, seeking care through an urgent care center (such as Concentra) will mean less in out-of-pocket costs, and also less time spent waiting to be seen.  For members, using services through urgent care providers such as Concentra will result in less in out-of-pocket costs in the form of copays.  For the plan, urgent care services are significantly less costly than those through the Emergency Room, which will help us to manage costs for future premiums.  Please note:  the the lower copay will apply for only those providers that are identified on Aetna’s provider directory as participating urgent care facilities.  You may search for participating urgent care providers through Aetna’s website at    

Choosing Wisely: Choosing Wisely® is an initiative to help physicians and patients engage in conversations about the overuse of tests and procedures and support physician efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices.

Through the guidance of a Leadership Group composed of physicians and other providers, consumers, employers, payers and other key stakeholders, Choosing Wisely in Maine has identified eight focus areas.

Know these 5 questions to ask your doctor before you get any test, treatment or procedure.

Visit Quality Counts for more information on the choosing wisely campaign.


Latest update: 02/23/14