If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, chances are your plan may include dental, vision, and/or hearing benefits as well as an allowance to purchase over-the-counter personal care items either at a retail location or from a catalog. The end of 2020 is fast approaching (thank goodness, what a year this has been) and if you still have supplementary benefits available, you should use them before the end of the year or you will lose them.

If you have a large dental procedure you’ve been putting off that might exceed your plan’s dental benefit, you can always do a portion of it this year to use up your benefit and then finish up the dental work in January when your 2021 dental benefit kicks in (if your 2021 plan has a dental benefit). You can do the same with hearing aids. If your plan only covers one per ear per year, you can get one in December and then another one in January for a matching pair. If your plan covers a new pair of eyeglasses each year and you haven’t used your 2020 benefit because you aren’t yet ready for new glasses, you can use your 2020 benefit to get prescription sunglasses. There’s nothing like a new pair of shades! And never ever, ever let those over the counter product dollars go to waste. You can stock up on band-aids, aspirin, lotion, vitamins, etc. Most things today have an awfully long shelf life (including our food, which come to think of it is a little scary, hmmm.)

What about your fitness benefits? Most of us haven’t been to a gym since COVID busted onto the scene earlier this year – forget about the freshman 15, we’ve got the COVID 25 (lbs). Many of the fitness programs are offering home fitness options instead – they will send you these awesome home fitness kits and even Fitbits (some plans). Call up your fitness provider (Silver Sneakers, Silver and Fit, Renew Active) and find out if they have home fitness kits that they can send you this year since you haven’t been using the gym. Some plans may limit you to two home kits a year – so get two, there’s still time!

Plans gauge the utilization of these benefits each year and the lesser utilized benefits might be done away with in coming years. Don’t let that happen. So, let’s get going… use it or lose it.