Time for a (Health Insurance) Check-Up

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You have probably heard the expression, “New Year, New Me.” For most people, it is also “New Year, New Deductible.” It’s time for an annual check-up on your health insurance deductible! 

For most of us with health insurance, the plan year ends on December 31.  With the period ending soon, now is the time for some end of year health care financial planning. 

What is a Deductible? 

Your deductible is the amount you owe each year for health care services. It is a payment you make that ensures the coverage of health care services before your health insurance plan begins to pay. Despite this being a part of your health insurance plan, the deductible may not apply to all services.  

For most, the deductible will reset on January 1, 2020, therefore, it’s good to do a little planning which can be a smart financial move. 

What if I haven’t reached my out of pocket maximum?
If you have had enough health care expenses this year to meet your deductible but have not reached your out of pocket maximum for the year, most health care visits will require you to pay a small portion, but not all, of the cost of care. This is the copayment or coinsurance

What if reached my out of pocket maximum?

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If you have already paid your maximum out of pocket costs for the year, most covered care will not cost anything until next year. If you have not yet reached your deductible for the year, and care is not urgent, you may benefit from waiting until the new plan year to schedule visits to your providers. Any costs incurred in the new year will all go toward meeting your new deductible.  

Important points to remember: 

  • First, if you become sick or injured, do not delay treatment.  Postponing care can make you sicker, possibly risk your future, and/or end up costing much more in the long run.  
  • Many preventatives services that help you stay healthier are free!  Check-ups, vaccines, and screenings often cost you nothing so there is no need to delay important preventative care.
  • Health insurance policies vary. Check your own health insurance policy and make sure you are using all of the benefits it provides.

Any care that you need should be scheduled before the end of the year to save you money.  Don’t delay! Providers’ appointment schedules fill up, and getting the care you need helps you stay healthier.  As you begin to create your spending and savings plan for the new year, it is also a good time to reflect on your present health and health costs.  Use this handy guide to assess your health needs and estimate your potential costs for the coming year.

Health Insurance Terms to Know:

Out-of-Pocket Maximum/Limit – The most you pay during a plan year (12 months) before your health insurance or plan begins to pay 100% of the allowed amount.

Copayment – A fixed amount you pay for a covered health care service, usually when you get the service. You may have to meet your deductible first.

Coinsurance – Your part of the costs of a covered health care service. This is a part of the allowed amount for the service. You pay this amount once you have met your deductible. 

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