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Last Updated: May 20th, 2012 - 04:10:15 

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Maximize Your Health Benefits
Apr 13, 2012, 15:42 PST

“Health benefits information can be confusing, and most people don’t understand all of their options, much less use them to their full potential,” said Neale Godfrey, bestselling financial advice author and Plan For Your Health spokesperson. In fact, a national survey conducted by Aetna and the Financial Planning Association found that only 19 percent of women have a budgeted amount of money set aside for annual out-of-pocket health care costs, which can top $2,900 for the average family of four.

All the more reason, according to Godfrey, to review your health benefits packet and discover which health plan services and programs you can take advantage of this year.

Plan for Your Health, an educational campaign from Aetna and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), can help you make the most of your health benefits choices. It offers the following advice:

Look for Deals and Discounts

Fully maximizing your health benefits plan involves making smart choices and knowing the ins and outs of what your plan offers. Some things to consider:
  • Utilize discount programs or prescription drug cards, if available, to help cover the costs of medicines throughout the year.
  • Talk with your physician about considering generic drugs. Another way of saving money could be using a mail order service for medications you regularly take.
  • Take advantage of special offerings, such as discounts for vitamins, health clubs and eyeglasses.
  • Make the most of your health plan by taking a health risk assessment and learning more about how to better manage your health.
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Don’t Underestimate the Benefit of Wellness

One of the primary functions of your health benefits plan is to keep you healthy. In fact, many plans offer extra incentives to do just that:
  • Make sure you schedule your annual preventive check-ups, including a well-women check-up with your Ob-Gyn, a physical exam with your primary care physician and a check-up and teeth-cleaning session with your dentist. It is often possible to catch small health issues before they become major health and financial burdens.
  • Look into wellness programs. Many health care plans now recognize the value of preventive care and will subsidize the costs of physical fitness facilities, exercise programs, quit-smoking clinics, flu shots, cholesterol and blood pressure checks or mental health services.

Plan for Your Health

Decisions you make now for your health benefits plan can impact your future. Planning well can make all the difference:
  • Sign up for a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), a tax-advantaged account that can be used to pay for health expenses. Also, create a monthly spending plan for your FSA dollars, especially since these funds do not roll over at the end of the year.
  • Find out which medical expenses you will be able to deduct this year. It may be possible to claim deductions for expenses such as weight-loss programs, laser eye surgery, dental X-rays and smoking cessation programs.
Get on top of your health and finances for the New Year by visiting for more information, and talk to your HR or benefits director with any questions.
Courtesy of ARA Content

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