The leaves are turning. There’s a chill in the air. The end of the year is quickly approaching. In all the holiday frenzy make time to take care of yourself. Now is the time to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from your health insurance plan.
If you’ve been putting off a procedure – especially if you’ve met your annual deductible or you’re close to it or if you have funds remaining in your Flexible Spending Account – now is the time.
The fact that your procedure may be of little or no cost to you could be just the motivation you need to take care of those nagging aches and pains.
DEDUCTIBLES AND MAXIMUM OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES
Most health insurance policies calculate deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expenses based on a calendar year. All copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses are reset on the first of January. Any medical expenses you acquire during that calendar year will be applied towards your deductible and must be paid out-of-pocket until your deductible is met. At this point, insurance begins to pay for services, which may be covered at 100 percent or may require you to pay coinsurance (a percentage of your claim expense).
If you have already met your annual deductible, this is the perfect time to take care of that varicose vein or spider vein procedure you have been putting off such as Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT), Ambulatory (micro) phlebectomy, or Sclerotherapy. Coverage of procedures will vary by insurance company, but this is still a good time to take action.
Coverage of procedures will vary by insurance company, but this is still a good time to take action.
FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS
Another factor to consider is your flexible-spending account (FSA). These pre-tax contributions can be used to pay for eligible medical expenses, but they expire at the end of your benefit period and must be forfeited.
Taking care of any necessary medical procedures before the end of the calendar year can help you apply your unused FSA funds before they expire. Medical facilities typically experience a heavy demand for procedures towards the end of the year as patients try to maximize their benefits, so the sooner you schedule your appointment, the better. Waiting until the last minute could cause you to miss the opportunity to see your doctor before the year ends.