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Money Leaks: Not Using Your Medical Benefits

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A lot has been made about health care in the United States, especially given the recent passage of “health care reform.” Proponents of health care reform argue that it wasn’t enough, enemies of the bill say that it puts an undue burden on businesses and is government interference in our personal lives. No matter how you approach it, health care is a big issue because, bottom line, we all want to be healthy, right?

Well, as it turns out, it’s very easy for you to not use all of your medical benefits. I don’t mean flexible spending accounts, which are the most obvious benefit that could be squandered either by not participating or letting a balance expire. I mean the regular routine checkups you are eligible for but don’t take advantage of.

This is the latest edition of Money Leaks.

Regular Checkups

If you have medical insurance, you should check to see what is covered as part of your annual routine preventive maintenance. You will typically get at least one annual checkup with your physician, optometrist (with vision coverage), and dentist (with dental coverage). You may have to pay a co-pay with each of the visits but the checkup and cleaning itself will be covered entirely. Also, depending on your age, the services covered will vary.

It’s important to take advantage of these essentially free checkups because preventive care is so much cheaper than prescriptive care. Wouldn’t you rather have your teeth cleaned once a year than have cavities filled? Ever since I went to cleanings twice a year (and flossing regularly!), the cleaning visit itself has been less painful, faster, and I haven’t had any dental issues.

Remember to take advantage of these services!

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4 Responses to “Money Leaks: Not Using Your Medical Benefits”

  1. Shirley says:

    A yearly physical seemed to be an unnecessary chore until one literally saved my husband’s life. He had no complaints other than increasing frquency of heartburn which was being taken care of by OTC antacids. After the blood workup he was called back in and a scan showed gallstones blocking his pancreas and some kidney damage. Without the surgical removal of gallstones, that situation would have (and nearly did!)become toxic.

    Now “I feel fine” is no excuse for not having an annual physical with a complete blood workup.

  2. I definitely do not use my dental benefit provided by my employer to the fullest. We get two routine cleanings per year, and I typically only go once.

    I know that I should go more often, but let’s be honest, nobody likes the dentist. it’s easy to “forget” about something unpleasant.

  3. elloo says:

    Not having an annual PAP test that I had been skipping for the last few years almost cost me dearly. It was fully covered by my insurance, but it’s an unpleasant test and I didn’t feel like having it done. Not doing it earlier turned into an even more unpleasant experience with a cancer diagnosis. Ladies–don’t skip this one.

  4. govenar says:

    I thought two dental cleanings a year was already pretty standard.


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