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How to Make the Most of Your Medical Benefits This Year

Oct 21 2019
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Maximizing your medical benefits should be at the top of your end of the year to-do list! It’s easy to start focusing on 2020 as open enrollment gears up. But reviewing your 2019 medical benefits may prevent you from accidentally leaving some money behind.

Here are a few tips for reviewing your 2019 medical benefits.

Have you and your dependents used your preventative services coverage?

Depending on your health plan, you may have a set of preventative services – such as check-ups, screenings and routine immunizations – that are 100 percent covered. For women, your mammogram screening and OB-GYN exam might be covered. If you’re on Medicare, your annual wellness visit might be available at no cost to you.

Be sure to take advantage of these annual benefits and consider scheduling an appointment before the end of the year.

Make the most of your deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Deductibles, which reset on January 1, determine the cost you pay out of pocket for health care services before your insurance kicks in. If you’ve met your deductible for 2019, you might want to consider any elective procedures you’ve been delaying, for example a colonoscopy.

It’s still important to get an estimate on your out-of-pocket costs before scheduling any appointments. Services might have co-pays or coinsurance until you reach your out-of-pocket maximum, or the amount you pay for medical services in a calendar year.

If you’ve met your out-of-pocket maximum or may reach it this month, consider scheduling those appointments or services. Once you have reached this dollar amount, most plans pay 100 percent of the allowed amount.

Have you put your tax-free dollars to work?

In additional to reviewing your medical insurance coverage, don’t forget about the money you already have to pay for medical expenses.

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) with any money left, use it before you lose it. Your FSA dollars have a shelf life and balances won’t carry over from year-to-year. Thus, it’s important to check your plan and review what eligible expenses are covered.

Unlike your FSA, if you have a Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) your balance typically rolls over. If your employer provides a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) to help pay for health care expenses, the money stays with you while you’re employed with the company. Planning on making a career change next year? If so, consider using whatever’s left in your HRA. Make sure to review the list of eligible purchases as some employers specify what you can use these dollars on.

Squirreling away those tax-free dollars in a Health Savings Account (HSA)? Keep at it! If you do happen to have some last-minute expenses this year, you can use your HSA on deductibles, co-payments, coinsurance and other eligible health care costs. Money in these accounts roll over from year-to-year and the dollars stay with you no matter your employer.

The end of the year is fast approaching, but there’s still time to get the most out of your medical benefits by December 31! If you’re ready to book an appointment, find a Mercy Health provider near you.


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