6 Smart Year-End Tips to Maximize Your 2017 Health Insurance Benefits

Take steps to ensure you are utilizing all your benefits and money set aside in 2017 for your healthcare expenses. Use those benefits or lose them when the new year rings in.

The end of the year is approaching quickly. Now is the time to ensure you maximize your medical insurance benefits. The annual deductible you’ve been paying on all year is about to reset January 1 and your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) most likely will not rollover to the next year, you may lose that money altogether.

Here are some tips to avoid leaving money on the table this year.

Make the most of your deductibles.

Deductibles are becoming more prevalent and more expensive with each passing year. A deductible is a set amount of money that you’re required to pay each year toward your medical expenses. This is before your insurance policy starts to cover your bills. At the beginning of each year, it starts at zero and all eligible medical expenses go toward your deductible until it has been reached.

Once you have met your deductible for the current year. Your insurance company will cover the majority of your medical expenses. You pay a copay or coinsurance.

If you've met your annual deductible for 2017, now may be a good time to schedule any medical treatment you've been delaying.

Understand what types of deductibles your insurance policy has.

There are several different types of deductibles insurers may offer. For example, if your health insurance policy covers your entire family, it likely comes with a family deductible. Family deductibles work differently than individual deductibles and you may have met your deductible via other family members medical services this year. Contact your insurer with any questions and to confirm if your deductibles have been met.  

Schedule your doctor's appointments and tests now.

The holiday season is beginning and it may be difficult to be seen if you procrastinate making a doctors appointment. Doctor’s schedules are getting tight as year-end approaches. Waiting too long to schedule an appointment during this busy time may make it difficult to get treatment in 2017.

The earlier you contact your medical provider for treatment the more likely they will be able to accommodate you before year-end.
Make sure your insurance company has an accurate record of all medical expenses for the year.

It should be easy to determine whether you've met your deductible for the year. But there usually is a lag time, sometimes months long, between the time your doctor submits a claim and your insurance company processes it. You and your insurer may not have the same information in regard to how much you've spent during this benefit year. Make sure your insurance company has current and accurate information.

Use all of your existing FSA contributions.

If you set up a flexible spending account, or FSA, through your employer as a supplemental benefit to your health insurance, you were able to contribute pre-tax money to it each year and use that money for qualifying health expenses. Check your balance now to know how much you have left. Even if you have more deductible your FSA may help you reach the deductible.

Unlike Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, which allow you to roll over pretax dollar savings from one year to the next, FSAs do not. Typically you need to fully spend the account by year's end or you'll lose the money left over.

Contact your insurance provider to make an informed decision.

When it comes to medical procedures and services cost can be a major concern. However, your next procedure may end up being far more affordable than you ever imagined. Informed decisions when utilizing your healthcare benefits may save you a tremendous amount of money. Be sure to contact your insurance provider to make an informed decision about affordable healthcare options for you and your family.

Please feel free to contact us at Joseph Spine with any questions about your spine healthcare that may benefit from an end-of-year treatment or service. The earlier you contact our office for an appointment or procedure the more likely we can accommodate you before years end.

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