Time to Get Those Exams You've Been Putting Off

Time to Get Those Exams You've Been Putting Off

If you’re like many people, this year has passed by in a blur, and it’s suddenly September. It’s likely that some of your routine health exams didn’t happen. And if the end of your health plan year is coming soon, all the more reason to review your health benefits.

Doing so could be a boost to your overall health — and could even save you money. That’s because you might have benefits you want to use before the end of the plan year.

Money Saving Choices

Looking at your health benefits now may save you money. If your plan has a deductible and you’ve met it, you might want to schedule care your doctor has been recommending now. If you wait for the new plan year, your deductible will reset and you will pay more out of pocket for the same care.

Do you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? Many people take advantage of these employer-sponsored options that allow them to set aside part of their pre-tax earnings for qualified health expenses.   If you have one, this is a good time to review the amount you’ve spent and check to see if you have a balance to use.

A Health Spending Account, or HSA, also lets you gather pre-tax money you can use to pay for certain health care costs. But you can roll the money over from year to year. That means the money can stay in the account for you to use in the future.

Find out more about flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts.

Start with an Annual Exam

If you haven’t had your yearly checkup, plan it now. You can talk to your doctor about your total health, your risk factors and your family medical history. Those are the things that affect what health screenings you need each year. You’ll also have your blood checked for cholesterol, diabetes and other potential health problems.

Routine screenings like this can help spot a potential problem before it becomes a serious health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,   getting the right health services, screenings and treatments improves your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

Don’t Overlook Dental and Eye Exams

When is the last time you had an eye exam or visited the dentist? If you’ve been putting it off, consider setting an appointment now. With others also trying to get in before the end of the year, don’t wait to make your appointment.

If you have a dental plan, make sure you know what it covers in a year. If you expect you will need fillings, crowns or root canals, you may want to plan them in the current year to use your available benefits. Some people have one procedure at the end of one plan year and the next at the beginning of the new plan year to break the treatment into two different plan years. It’s an efficient, cost-effective way to use your benefits.

Based on your age and health, you may need a yearly eye exam. Some people with health risks such as diabetes, eye trauma or a family history of glaucoma may need them more often.

Find a Provider in Your Network

Call a provider in your plan’s network to schedule any screenings or exams you haven’t had yet this year. You can use the online Provider Finder® tool to find a provider in your network. To use Provider Finder, log in to Blue Access for MembersSM and click on the Find a Doctor or Hospital tab. You can also get details on your benefits under the My Coverage tab.

Sources: Regular Checkups are Important,   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017; How Often Should I Have an Eye Exam,   Prevent Blindness; How to Use FSAs, HSAs and HRAs to Cut Your Healthcare Costs,   Consumer Reports, 2018
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