Everyone knows that the holiday season is a great time to hunt for bargains and score some major deals. But did you know that it’s also a good opportunity to save money on elective medical procedures? The end of the calendar year is quickly approaching, which means that deductible you’ve been paying towards since January is about to renew. Scheduling your knee arthroscopy procedure now can help you save money and maximize your health benefits before they expire.
Knee arthroscopy is used to treat a variety of knee ailments, including (Source: Healthline):
- torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
- torn meniscus
- a patella that is out of position
- pieces of torn cartilage that are loose in the joint
- removal of a Baker’s cyst
- fractures in the knee bones
- swollen synovium
The procedure is minimally invasive, low risk and has a shorter recovery time than open surgery. But why is it cheaper if you choose to have it done now instead of next year?
Most health plans operate on a calendar year, meaning benefits and out-of-pocket expenses renew on the first of January and expire at the end of December. Your deductible, which is the amount of money you must pay before you are eligible to receive insurance benefits, is set at zero. All year long, certain medical expenses will be applied to your deductible until it is met. At that point, your insurance will start to contribute toward your medical expenses – sometimes up to 100 percent.
If you are close to meeting your deductible for this year, or if you’ve met it already, the cost of your knee arthroscopy will be mostly covered by your insurance company. If you wait until the first of the year, you will have to pay your deductible in full before your insurance will start to pick up part of the tab.
This is also a good time to check the balance in your flexible-spending account (FSA). These pre-tax contributions can be used to pay for your medical expenses, but unused funds expire at the end of your benefit period and must be forfeited. The funds in your FSA may cover your balance of the procedure completely, costing you absolutely nothing out-of-pocket.
Year-end procedures are a smart way to get the most out of those health benefits you’ve been paying for all year long, but don’t wait too long to schedule. This can be a busy time for doctors, and appointments may fill up quickly. Make that call today, and step into the New Year with a fat wallet instead of a fat bill.