When the calendar year ends, your health insurance plan’s deductible balance will reset to 0. Since your deductible is the amount you must pay before your insurance kicks in and covers the rest of your costs, you could potentially pass up an opportunity to save money if you don’t pay attention. Whether you have an individual or group healthcare plan, most of you will fall into one of the following four categories.
Have you met, or almost met, your deductible? If you’ve met your deductible for the year, or you’re close to meeting it, then your healthcare for the rest of the year will be covered by your insurance company. You might as well schedule any tests or procedures now, before your balance resets to 0. Consider whether you need prescription refills, diagnostic testing or lab work, outpatient surgery, or preventive screenings such as a colonoscopy.
Are you far from meeting your deductible? It’s good luck that you haven’t experienced any major medical expenses this year. But if you schedule non-emergency treatments or other appointments now, it is unlikely you will meet your deductible at this point in the year. If you can, it probably makes sense to delay those procedures until January. That way your expenditures will go toward your 2018 deductible.
Do you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? Funds within these accounts do not roll over to the next year, so be sure to utilize your account before December 31. You can spend the money on any qualified medical expenses, so schedule necessary appointments now.
Do you have a Health Savings Account (HSA)? Your funds roll over from one year to the next, so there’s no need to rush out and schedule unnecessary appointments. In fact, if you’re relatively healthy and don’t foresee any major medical expenses in the near future, you might consider investing your HSA into a mutual fund and grow your money.
Remember, December 31 marks the last day of your current healthcare policy. Address these issues now, and you can enter 2018 in good physical as well as financial health.