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Get the Most from Your Insurance This Year

​There’s only a few months left in 2014, and you know what that means: it’s time to start maximizing those insurance benefits! Many insurance companies operate on a calendar year, which means you’ve only got until December 31 to take full advantage of your policy before your deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expenses reset. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your insurance this year.

Check on your deductible

Your deductible is a set amount of money you are required to pay in medical expenses before your insurance kicks in. Once your deductible is met, your insurance will start covering procedures, sometimes up to as much as 100 percent. Your deductible resets on the first of January, so it’s important to take care of any procedures before this time. If you wait until the first of the year, you will have to pay your deductible again before insurance starts to pick up the tab.

Take advantage of free procedures

Many insurance companies offer certain preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. These services may include annual physicals, pap smears and mammograms. If you don’t take advantage of these services during the calendar year, you’re basically throwing away free money! Check with your insurance company to see which services are covered at 100 percent, and verify that you are using an in-network provider. Using an out-of-network provider or facility could result in charges.

Use up those FSA funds

Do you still have funds in your flexible-spending account (FSA)? These pre-tax dollars can be used to pay for medical expenses, but they expire at the end of your benefit period, so it’s important to use them. Have you been avoiding a colonoscopy or an upper endoscopy because you’re concerned about the expense? This is a great way to get that out of the way and use your FSA to pay for it!

Taking care of medical procedures before the end of the year is a smart way to take full advantage of your insurance policy, and it guarantees a healthy start to your new year. Doctor’s offices usually experience a high demand for procedures around this time, so don’t delay in scheduling your appointment. If you wait too long, your doctor might be fully booked until next year.