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Of course you can’t time your next medical emergency and you shouldn’t delay going to the doctor if you have symptoms. I’m not suggesting that you jeopardize your health in order to save a few dollars. However, there are things like eye exams, annual physicals that you have some control over. Using these services at the right time can impact how much you pay.

Saving Healthcare Dollars by timing your claims

Many of the your health insurance claims are subject to your deductible. Most policies will have a calendar year deductible. This means that it starts over every January first just after midnight.

Many of your expenses will be subject to your deductible. This means that if you have a $1,000 deductible and you have $1,000 or less of medical expenses during the course of a calendar year, you will pay for all of your expenses. If you have a potential claim that is safe to postpone and it is near the end of the year you may want to incur that expense this year and you may want to incur it next year.

Let’s say that it is late December and you have enough of a given medication to last you through January. If your prescriptions are subject to the deductible and you haven’t met your prescription maximum, you should buy the drug in December if you have already met your deductible and wait until January if you have not. Each safely potential postponable medical expense should be evaluated in this manner. This can save you hundreds of dollars in many circumstances

Heath care freebies:

OK, they are really not free. You pay a lot for your healthcare policy. But some policies come with services that you can use with no added cost or with minimal added cost such as a small co-pay. Most of these services are available to you every calendar year but if you don’t use them you lose them. For example several of the policies we work with offer a free annual physical. More offer a physical with a small co-pay.

If you have one of these policies, you are paying for these benefits with your monthly premiums. Take advantage of them! If by Halloween or Thanksgiving you haven’t yet had your physical, call your doctor and schedule an appointment. Remember, use it or lose it!

Health insurance policies may have no “free” or low cost benefits or they may have several. Vision exams, glasses or contacts, dental exams, pap smears and mammograms are among the common items that fall into the use it or lose it category. Call your broker or read your policy to see what benefits are available to you. Taking advantage of your “free” exams could save more than money!

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Alston

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