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It’s nearly the end of 2018, and while people are getting into the holiday spirit, there are also practical matters to consider when it comes to insurance benefits. Advising your patients on how to make the most of their benefits by year’s end is a win-win for them as health consumers and for you as a practitioner.
Deductibles reset at the end of each year. If a patient has already met his or her deductibles, they have an incentive to take advantage of benefits before the reset occurs. Depending on their plan, they will not have to pay for chiropractic treatments after their deductibles are met with the exception of relatively inexpensive co-pays.
Some plans may include annual maximums, and these, too, reset on January 1. If there are available funds in the plan, it’s better to visit health care providers now instead of waiting until the new year. Some plans may include a maximum number of chiropractic visits. If a patient hasn’t taken advantage of the number of visits permitted by the plan, this is the time to do it.
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) offer tax-free savings, as employees fund FSAs with pre-tax dollars and reduce taxable income. However, these funds don’t roll over into the following year. With an FSA, it’s either use the money by the end of the calendar year or lose it. Patients can use their FSA funds for qualified medical expenses, including chiropractic treatments. Some patients may have Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which usually cover chiropractic care when performed for medical purposes rather than wellness. HSA funds do roll over into the following year. Still, it doesn’t hurt to remind HSA patients that they are due for an adjustment.
Most major health insurance plans include chiropractic benefits. The plans differ on the amount covered, whether referrals are needed and, as noted, the number of visits. If you know your patient may have unused chiropractic benefits, reach out to them, so they can schedule an appointment in a timely manner and take advantage of all that year’s benefits. For example, if a plan allows for 12 annual chiropractic treatments, basically one per month, and a patient has only used 10, they are forfeiting two appointments that will cost them little or nothing out of pocket.
Insurance plan benefits change each year, and patients should not assume their current plan will include the same benefits it did in prior years. That’s why it is critical that patients understand their insurance benefits and costs, including chiropractic care. A reminder that patients should review their new plans may ensure they don’t lose benefits in other areas they have come to depend on.
What’s the best way to notify your patients about these end of year options? Your chiropractic practice management software should allow you to send text or email alerts to patients. You can also include the information in an end-of-year newsletter or send out a formal “Unclaimed Benefits” letter. The latter, however, is the most expensive route, since you will have to pay the postage in addition to the paper and labor it takes to put mailers together for all of your patients.
If your chiropractic practice management software doesn’t offer these text and email options, you have your own end-of-year planning to do. ChiroTouch chiropractic software allows you to contact patients easily. You’ll save time and money with the most efficient chiropractic practice management software available. Contact us today at 800-852-1771 and arrange a free demonstration.