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How to Make the Most of Your Medical Benefits This Year

Dec 3 2018

Check maximizing your medical insurance off your holiday list

Are you making your list and checking it twice? Chances are, reviewing your insurance policy isn’t on your holiday to-dos. However, you could be losing out by letting the clock strike midnight on December 31 without going over the benefits covered by your insurance plan.

Here are a few items to look into before the end of the year:

  • Depending on your plan, preventative services might be 100% covered. This could include an annual exam and routine immunizations. For females, your mammogram screening and OB/GYN exam might covered. If you have any preventative services covered and have not already taken advantage of them, consider scheduling those appointments before the end of the year.
  • Deductibles reset each year. Consider how close you are to meeting your deductible before you plan any procedures. If you have met your deductible, make sure to get an estimate on your out-of-pocket costs. Services might have copays or coinsurance until you reach your out-of-pocket maximum.
  • Once you reach your out-of-pocket maximum (the maximum amount of money you may pay for medical services in a calendar year), get your appointments on the books! When you reach this maximum, most plans pay 100% of the allowed amount. If you have already reached this maximum or you may reach it this month, consider scheduling additional services.

In addition to maximizing year-end medical benefits, Americans have multiple ways to financially plan for their medical expenses. Here are the most common, and when they carry over from year-to-year:

  • Have you put tax-free dollars into a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? Use it or lose it. The balance left over at the end of the year doesn’t roll over, so check your plan to see what this money can be used for, then go ahead and use those dollars towards eligible expenses.
  • Some employers provide a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for their employees to help pay for health care expenses. While this money often rolls over year to year, the money only stays with you while you’re at the company. If you’re planning to change jobs, you might want to consider using whatever’s left in your HRA. If you’re staying for the long haul, it’s probably safe to leave it in case there’s a time when you really need it. Some employers specify what you can use these dollars on, so make sure you take a look before swiping your card.
  • Tax-free dollars you put in your Health Savings Account (HSA) roll over from year-to-year. Your HSA differs from an HRA, because you keep it no matter what company you are at.

The end of the year is fast approaching, but there’s still time to get the most of your medical benefits before January 1.

While you’re reviewing your current policy, be sure to also check your 2019 plan to see if there are any significant changes, which could affect the services you choose this year. If you’re ready to book an appointment, you can do so easily with Mercy Health’s online scheduling. Find a doctor near you to help make the most of your medical benefits today.

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