On January 1, most health insurance deductibles reset to $0. Here’s how to maximize your benefits and keep medical costs down.
Even though the start of the New Year typically means that you’re now back on the hook for more out-of-pocket spending, you can take smart steps to lower your costs responsibly — without having to skip the medical care you need to stay healthy.
1. Use your free benefits
Most insurance plans offer preventative services like annual physicals, immunizations, and certain screenings at no cost. Treatments related to chronic conditions — like heart disease, diabetes, and depression — may be covered, too. Review your coverage details or give your insurance provider a call to find out what you’re entitled to. Getting ahead of certain health issues now could save you a lot of money down the road.
2. Take advantage of tax breaks
If you have a high-deductible health plan, you’re eligible to set aside money — up to $3,550 annually for individuals, $7,100 for families, and an extra $1,000 if you’re over 55 — in a health savings account (HSA). That’s pre-tax money to pay for qualified medical expenses that count toward your deductible. HSAs roll over from year to year, are yours to keep even when you change jobs, and can also help you save for retirement.
Have money leftover from your 2019 flexible savings account (FSA)? You can roll over up to $500 for 2020. Some plans allow a grace period of two-and-a-half months, so check with your insurance provider to see your options.
3. Schedule expensive procedures early
If you’re planning for a procedure or surgery, try to get it on the calendar as early as possible. You’ll meet your deductible sooner, pay less out-of-pocket for the remainder of 2020, and beat the year-end scheduling rush.
4. Ask for a payment plan
You might not have to pay your entire medical bill all at once. In fact, many medical providers, including physicians, dentists and hospitals, can work out a payment plan for your bills. Just be sure to ask if there are any fees, so you can determine what makes the most financial sense for you.
5. Use price comparison tools
If your health plan has online tools to help you compare costs, use them. Prices for medical services can vary dramatically from provider to provider. Try to see someone in-network too, so that you’ll pay less and reach your deductible sooner. If your health plan doesn’t offer any tools, call your insurance provider and ask for payment estimates directly.
Prescription Tip: If you find yourself with high copays at the pharmacy, talk to your doctor about switching to a more affordable generic drug. Generics can be as effective as brand name, but cost you a lot less. You can also save money by using Blink to pay for your prescriptions. We offer 4,000 medications under $10 and you can use HSA money on any purchase.
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 536 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10012, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com