Are you the type of person that anxiously awaits January, having maxed out your health benefits in, say, September of the previous year?
Or are you always left with more benefits left than you can possibly use in the closing months of the year?
Either way, there's probably a more sustainable way to use your extended health benefits this year.
A extended benefits plan is only going to work for you if you understand what it includes. Some plans can be jargon-y and difficult to navigate, but it's worth the time to work through them. You may have access to more or different kinds of care than your realized.
Also, nothing's worse than spending money you think you'll be reimbursed for, only to discover that your treatment isn't covered.
Our advice? Spend a bit of time now, at the beginning of the year, getting familiar with your plan, setting up your online reimbursement system (if you have one), and generally making things easy for yourself down the road.
Prevention vs. Treatment
Much like those folks who wait the entire year and then try to use all their benefits in one month, many of us wait until we're injured or ill to start taking real care of our health.
Our suggestion this year is to practice prevention, as opposed to straight treatment. The difference? Prevention is an ongoing practice that affects your whole lifestyle. Treatment is what happens after an injury.
Look at what your plan has to offer, and schedule accordingly - have access to ten therapeutic massages through the year? Put a reminder in your calendar for every six weeks to schedule an RMT appointment.
It's possible that you'll get injured at some point, and need to use a bulk of benefits to heal. But saving all of your benefits until the last minute and not preventatively visiting practitioners may actually increase your chance of injury. It's kind of a no-brainer.
Customize Your Plan
While the customizable plan is being touted as the way of the future, not all employers offer it yet. That being said, the more people who request this format, the more likely it is to be rolled out at your office in the future!
Find Practitioners You Trust
Above all else, your benefits package is supposed to benefit you.
Take the time to get to know what's available in your area, shop around a little, and find someone who makes you feel heard and cared for. Because when it comes right down to it, connection and care are the cornerstones of good health.