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.

Manage Your Spine Care 24/7 with Joseph Spine’s Secure Patient Portal – FollowMyHealth


At Joseph Spine, we are constantly striving to offer the highest quality spine care, including superior customer service and new technology, to help you, our patient manage your healthcare around the clock. That is why we are implementing a secure online patient portal – FollowMyHeath®. Use your computer, tablet or smartphone to connect with your doctor, anytime.

There are also mobile apps for your iPhone or Android.

Joseph’s Spine’s FollowMyHeath® Patient Portal facilitates better communication with our staff and doctors by providing a secure, convenient way to manage your spine health care. This 100% FREE self-service health management tool can improve doctor-patient interactions, document important health care information, and ultimately give you the ability to make more informed decisions about your health.

It puts everything you need to manage your spine health right at your fingertips, saving time, reducing stress and viewing information when you want it.


No need to remember multiple passwords and portal sites.

Joseph Spine’s patient portal, FollowMyHealth®, will provide our patients with a single point of access to view health and appointment information kept in our health record, as well as, access a growing number of online resources and services created to help you manage your spine health.


To register your account on the patient portal, you must be an established patient, having seen your doctor at least once in the office.

  • If you are 18 or older, you will be asked if you would like to enroll in the Follow My Health Patient Portal during the registration process at your next doctor’s visit.
  • If you would like to enroll, please provide your email address and an invitation will be sent to you.
  • Once you receive your invitation, click on the link in the email that says “click here to register.”
  • The sign-up page has step by step instructions.
  • You will create a unique username and password. You will also be asked for an access code, this will be the last four digits of your social security number or the year of your birth. Please don’t share your username and password with anyone.
  • Welcome to FollowMyHealth Patient Portal®!
Dr. Joseph Spine Surgeon Tampa Bay Bucs

Dr. Samuel Joseph Spine Surgeon Chosen To Serve Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Described as “steadfast and dedicated” for his service to his spine patients, as well as, his humanitarian services to the Make a Wish Foundation, the Butterfly Foundation, and teaching his Minimally Invasive Techniques throughout the world, Dr. Samuel Joseph, of Joseph Spine, has been chosen as the team Spine Surgeon for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Dr. Samuel Joseph, spine surgeon located in Tampa, FL, explains the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. He also reviews complex spine conditions that can now be treated with minimally invasive spine surgery due to advances in technology.

There have been a lot of new advances in medicine and technology that allow us to do minimally invasive spine surgeries (MISS).

Traditionally open procedures typically require a larger incision, as it is necessary to cut through muscles and pull them out of the way in order to reach the spine. This causes patients a large amount of pain, lots of muscle dissection, blood loss, increases hospitalization, the risk of infection and lengthens recovery time.

Minimally invasive surgery involves a smaller incision, with minimal muscle dissection, and less pain resulting in a faster recovery time, minimal scarring, reduced blood loss and reduced risk of infection. There is rarely a need for a blood transfusion, often there is less need for narcotic pain medications, and usually, no hospital stay.

Let’s review the anatomy of the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine consists of five lumbar vertebrae labeled one through five. So this would be L1, L2, L3. They are separated from one another by these discs, these discs are the spongy portion of the spine that allow the spine to flex and extend. In the back of the spine, there is a tube, the tube consists of fluid and nerves. The nerves exit at various places in the spine. If a disc herniates or if you have a bone spur that can cause pressure on one of these nerves which can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and dysfunction for the patient.

Conditions that may benefit from minimally invasive surgery include spinal stenosis, Bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs, sciatica, leg pain and arm pain.

As we continue to focus on emerging technology and state of the art equipment we have vastly expanded the breadth of spine conditions that can be addressed using minimally invasive techniques.

Today new advances in spine care enable us to undertake a full range of spine disorders, including many complex procedures – such as revision surgeries, multiple-level disease, fusions, compressions, and deformities – all using minimally invasive techniques.

Stem Cell Therapy New Hope for Spine Patients 

Regenerative Injective Therapy (RIT) using stem cells is a cutting-edge new procedure that triggers the body’s natural healing mechanisms, relieving pain and often curing the cause. The emerging field of regenerative medicine features stem cell-based therapies using autologous platelet rich plasma/fat/bone marrow which are at the forefront of sports and regenerative medicine worldwide. RIT offers a promising new option for treating those who suffer from chronic back pain.

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3 Simple Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain

When experiencing low back pain, the natural response may be to take it easy and sit on the couch. This could possibly be the worst thing you can do to help relieve back pain. A regular routine of lower back exercises may help patients avoid stiffness and weakness, minimize the recurrence of lower back pain, and lessen the severity and extent of possible future episodes of low back pain.

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Dr. Joseph, Spine Surgeon Tampa, Offers New Generation of Spine Medicine And New Hope For Patients

Tampa, FL April 7, 2017 – Dr. Samuel Joseph offers the latest technological treatment advances for Spine Care making Joseph Spine Advanced Center for Spine, Scoliosis, and Minimally Invasive Surgery, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary spine care program designed to create better outcomes for patients regionally, nationally and internationally.

Dr. Joseph’s practice includes the specialized, conservative, and surgical care of patients. Treatment includes therapeutic injections, disc replacement surgery, minimally invasive techniques, and complex reconstruction of adult and pediatric spinal disorders.

He is among a select group of surgeons to offer cutting edge regenerative injection therapy (RIT), a procedure that harnesses the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Joseph Spine utilizes Lipogems® for stem cell therapy.

Dr. Joseph has used his training and experience to become a leader nationwide on revision surgery for patients who have experienced failed surgery in the past.

Teaching Engagements

Dr. Joseph is active in teaching his minimally invasive techniques, complex scoliosis procedures and revision strategies to surgeons across the United States, as well as internationally, including China, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, and Switzerland.

Dr. Joseph has published numerous articles in neurosurgical and orthopedic spine journals. His research on scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and spinal surgery in the elderly has been presented at many international meetings including the International Meeting for Advanced Spinal Techniques.

Philanthropic Endeavors

Dr. Joseph and his family are active members of the Tampa Bay community. They have taken a special interest in the Make a Wish Foundation and its goal of granting wishes and making life better for kids with life-threatening medical conditions. He also lends his time to the Butterfly Foundation, which brings deformity focused spine surgeons and comprehensive teams to developing countries to teach local spine surgeons through didactics, workshops, and surgery on local patients.

New Generation, Patient-Focused Treatment of Spinal Conditions Is the Focus of Newly Opened Joseph Spine Center

Tampa, FL – March 2, 2017 – Joseph Spine, recently opened it doors in December of 2016, with spine centers in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Safety Harbor Florida.

Joseph Spine’s patient-focused spine care program operates under Dr. Samuel A. Joseph, Jr., who is committed to finding the best treatment approach for each patient.

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