Many of us are focused on buying the right gift, making sure it will arrive on time, or planning a big holiday meal for family and friends over the next few weeks. But, making time to do a few simple things before the end of the year can lead to big savings on Healthcare costs.
Affordable Care Act Enrollment
The open enrollment deadline for coverage through the Affordable Care Act ends December 15. If you enrolled last year through an exchange, or need new coverage for 2019 make sure you visit your states enrollment portal before December 15.
High Deductible Plans
If you have coverage through a High Deductible Plan and have already met the deductible for the year be sure to refill all your prescriptions and other covered medical supplies before December 31. Not only should you place the refill by December 31, you also need to pick up any prescriptions before the pharmacy closes on December 31 (or December 30 since the 31 is a Sunday this year).
If you are out of refills, and still need the medication, contact your doctor and ask them to call in an extra refill before your deductible resets for the year.
This is also a good time to consider scheduling any routine appointments, or other services you need, before the coverage year resets on January 1.
However, if you have a High Deductible Plan and have not met your 2018 deductible it might make sense to pick up refills and schedule appoints for after the 1st of the year. This will give you a head start on meeting next year’s deductible.
Speaking of High Deductible Plans, they allow you to put money into a Health Savings Account to use for covered medical expenses in the future. You have until tax day in 2019 to make your 2018 contribution. Consider sticking some of your holiday bonus into your HSA for tax savings.
Flexible Spending Accounts
Many employers offer flexible spending accounts as a pretax benefit. These accounts are often “use it or lose it”. Any money put in through payroll deductions during the year must be spent by the end of the year, December 31.
Some employers offer a grace period that allows funds to be spent till March 15 of the following year and others allow for a roll over of up to $500.
Now is a good time to look at what is left in your account and add in any deductions from your remaining paychecks. The funds must be used for eligible health care expenses, like copays, prescriptions, and corrective lenses.
A list of eligible expenses can be found here.
If you wear glasses or contacts now might be a good time to order a new pair, or refill prescriptions to use up the remaining funds in your 2018 account.
Remember that all eligible expenses must be turned in by March 31 2019 for reimbursement.