In keeping with time-honored traditions it is time to create a list of resolutions for the new year. This year I plan to lose weight, spend smarter through my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and on vitamins that work, and take control of my own health care by getting copies of my medical records. I’ve listed my health-oriented resolutions below.
1) Lose some more weight (about 5 lbs) and another inch or so from my waist. Getting older has resulted in me expanding just a bit. Over the last two years I have successfully lost about 17 pounds and between 2 and 2 1/2 inches off my waist. I also feel a lot better. But there is still room for improvement and I plan to focus this year on finally losing the last of the pounds and inches I’d originally planned to when I started my weight reduction resolution two years ago.
2) Track my medical expenditures and plan on a more accurate allocation of pre-tax dollars to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). There have been plenty of articles in the last few years about the ever increasing medical costs and taking advantage of any opportunities to reduce the expense is just smart. The company I work for has made radical changes to health care offerings in 2012 reducing plan choices to just two for the majority of employees. In the process this also eliminated the high deductible plans that allowed for Health Savings Accounts (HSA). HSAs allow contributing pre-tax money that can be used to pay for medical costs not covered by insurance. A big advantage of HSAs over Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) is the ability to carry over unused dollars to the new year. FSAs are use or it or lose it so it is critical to estimate dollars into the account with some accuracy. With HSAs not an option for me, tracking my uncovered medical expenses will allow me to contribute with more certainty the maximum amount in 2013.
3) Make sure everyone in my family is using generic drugs whenever they are available. Doctors don’t always prescribe generic versions of branded drugs and as we age it is likely more drugs will be needed. I’ll review the prescriptions and confirm we are using generics wherever possible.
4) Get copies of all my medical records and work out a system to scan and store them electronically. Last year I ended up getting another bone marrow biopsy because my previous doctor couldn’t find my test results from a couple of years back. I haven’t done enough research on what medical records doctors and hospitals should be expected to keep and for how long but my experience has me resolved to get copies of all my medical records going forward even if there is a cost.
5) Review the vitamins we take and consider dropping any where the evidence of benefit is still to be proven. It makes little sense to incur additional expense unless there is proven and measurable value.