The end of the calendar year brings cooler weather and holiday festivities, but it’s also the time of year to take stock of your health insurance plan. If you’ve been delaying treatments or procedures due to cost, depending on what you’ve already spent during the year, now could be the time to get those appointments scheduled. There are several ways you can optimize your insurance coverage to get the most out of your healthcare dollars.
Know your deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Your deductible is how much you are expected to pay per year for medical services your plan covers. After you “meet your deductible,” you will only be responsible for a portion of the cost of service, copay or a flat fee, depending on your policy. Your out-of-pocket maximum is supposed to be the most you will pay in one year for health care costs, but it’s important to read your policy so you know which medical costs count toward your out-of-pocket maximum.
Stay in your insurance network whenever possible. Most often, your copays will be less and in many cases your deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums only count toward in-network services.
Use free preventive care services as outlined in your policy. If you need preventive care and don’t get it according to your policy, anything you pay won’t count toward either of your spending limits. Getting preventive care now can also lower costs down the road by catching or treating a health problem before it gets out of hand. Medicare and all marketplace health plans cover: cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, colorectal cancer screenings, flu shots and many more as long as you meet the requirements.
Plan your medical expenses ahead whenever possible, such as scheduling a surgery. Scheduling a knee or hip replacement in November or December may save you $1,000’s compared to scheduling a surgery in January or February. Why? Your deductible and out-of-pocket maximum starts over January 1st. Should you wait until December to meet with your surgeon to maximize your savings? Not exactly. Your doctor or surgeon is usually inundated with end-of-the-year appointments and surgeries. Your surgeon will also need time to review your medical history and may perform less non-invasive methods before offering surgery, which could mean your surgery would not be scheduled until next year.
Talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling any necessary procedures before the end of the year, or if you need a provider call Hannibal Regional Medical Group to schedule an appointment with one at 573-629-3500.