Watch Your End-of-the-Year Benefits


November is an open-enrollment month for many health- and dental-care systems, and it’s a good time to review your benefits for this year, too.

“Many dental plans re-set each January,” says Karly Achman, financial coordinator of Dr. Carol Ford’s Phoenix dentistry office. “If you have met your deductible, now is the time to schedule treatment, while the insurance coverage is most beneficial to you,” she adds.

In an article for the Los Angeles Times, Lisa Zamosky warns, “Be careful with your calculations. It should be easy to determine whether you’ve met your deductible for the year. But it can get tricky when you consider a lag, sometimes months long, between the time your doctor submits a claim and your insurance company processes it.” You may have met your deductible and have remaining benefits left to use that could go wasted if you do not act.

A phone call to your health insurance broker or to your insurance company now can help save you money by the end of the year.

There are other ways to save by the end of 2013. If your insurance plan allows you to order 90-day supplies of medication, the end of a year is a good time to do it, whether prescription drugs contribute to your deductible or not. If they fall under your deductible, and you have met that amount, you can save the cost of the medication. If they do not fall under the deductible, you can get the medication and add it to your medical expenses for tax time. And with yearly cost increases, you could get the medication at a lower price than it will cost  next year.

Many dental plans have a $1,000 or $1,500 cap. In that case, splitting the costs, so you get part of the work done at the end of the year and the rest at the beginning of the next is another way to make the most of your benefits.

“You may have to do a bit of calculating, but the money you save will certainly bring a smile to your face,” says Karly.

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