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The new year, 2018, is fast-approaching; and scheduling necessary appointments, tests and surgeries now makes sense. When New Year's Day 2018 rolls around in a few short weeks, the slate will be wiped clean and everyone will gain a fresh start to another new year.

The slate that's wiped clean also will include the tally of healthcare expenses you've incurred through 2017 which count toward your deductible, so now's the time to play it smart and check to see if you've met your deductible.

Health plans typically begin paying for the majority -- if not all -- of your healthcare expenses once you've met that threshold. So, if you have met your deductible or are close to reaching it, this is the ideal time to maximize your plan benefits and schedule appropriate appointments, testing and procedures. You may save hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on what healthcare you need, if it's obtained before the end of the year.

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital offers mammogram screenings for women. A doctor's order is not needed for a screening mammogram. Just call the SSRH Radiology Department at 479-215-3420 to set up an appointment. Early detection affords the best opportunity for a cure.

SSRH also offers a low-dose radiation screening of the lungs. If you would like to have a lung cancer screening at SSRH, speak with your primary care provider about scheduling an appointment.

Additionally, individuals who have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) need to check their balance. The Internal Revenue Service requires these accounts, which hold pretax dollars set aside to pay for healthcare-related expenses, be depleted by the end of the year or the money is forfeited. This adds another incentive to schedule services now to ensure those hard-earned dollars are spent, not lost.

Health insurance plans reward individuals who plan and manage their health care. Taking 15 minutes to set up appointments now could save you a significant amount of money. The key is to obtain all the health services you need before Dec. 31, because with the New Year comes a new deductible, and any balance in an FSA account is lost.

Siloam Springs Internal Medicine offers wellness screenings for adults of all ages. To schedule an appointment with Dr. R.E. "Bud" Meehan or Jennifer Smith, APRN, call 479-215-3070. In addition, Dr. John A. Billingsley III, board-certified ophthalmologist at Legacy Eye Center, offers comprehensive eye exams and in-office procedures for treatment of AMD, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and cosmetic features for the aging face. He performs cataract and glaucoma surgery in addition to oculoplastic procedures at SSRH outpatient eye surgery suites. To schedule an appointment, call 479-524-6115.

It is crucial to be prompt with your scheduling to ensure the test, checkup or procedure can be done before the end of the year. Getting everything squared away by early December will ensure the services you receive are considered part of your 2017 coverage and funds.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a 73 licensed-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 40 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, one of the largest health networks in Northwest Arkansas. The facility is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit

Editorial on 11/29/2017

Print Headline: Play it smart with year-end healthcare

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