Add maximizing your medical insurance to your end of the year to-do list! Chances are, reviewing your insurance policy isn’t high on your priorities. However, you could be losing out by not going over the benefits covered by your medical insurance plan before December 31.
Here are a few items to investigate before the end of the year:
- Most health plans cover a set of preventative services at no cost to you. Depending on your plan, these 100% covered services might include an annual exam and routine immunizations. For women, your mammogram screening and OB-GYN exam might be covered. If you have not already taken advantage of your covered preventative services, consider scheduling those appointments before the end of the year.
- Deductibles are the amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance kicks in. These reset on January 1 each year. If you’ve been considering any elective procedures, look at how close you are to meeting your deductible. 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.
- If you’ve met your out-of-pocket maximum, which is the maximum amount of money you may pay for medical services in a calendar year, consider scheduling those appointments or services. Once you have reached this maximum, most plans pay 100% of the allowed amount.
In addition to making the most out of your current medical benefits, there are multiple ways to financially plan for medical expenses.
Here are the most common types, as well as 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 how this money can be used. 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 employed with the company. If you’re planning to change jobs, you might want to consider using whatever’s left in your HRA. Some employers specify the types of expenses you can use these dollars on, so make sure you review the list of eligible purchases.
- Do you have a Health Savings Account (HSA)? These accounts let you save dollars tax-free to use on deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and other eligible health care costs. The money in these accounts roll over from year-to-year and differ from an HRA because you keep the dollars regardless of your employer.
The end of the year is fast approaching, but there’s still time to get the most out of your medical benefits before January 1.
While you’re reviewing your current policy, be sure to also check your 2021 plan to see if there are any significant changes, which could affect the services you choose this year.