Don't be fooled by the calendar (and don't ignore those "Game of Thrones" previews) ... winter is coming. And as the weather changes, our bodies need to adapt to the new conditions. There are plenty of steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of staying healthy over the colder months. To make things even easier, you can use HSA funds to cover the costs of many winter health essentials.
So as winter draws near, keep these steps in mind to stay ahead of the season.
Schedule your annual physical
People lead busy lives and it's common to put off routine appointments to make way for other obligations. Before you know it, winter is here and you'll realize you never did get around to scheduling your annual physical. So now is the perfect time to give your doctors office a call to set up the appointment - and you can always use your HSA funds for any copay expenses you might need to cover.
In addition to seeing your primary care provider, you should also schedule HSA-eligible dental cleanings and eye exams if you haven't had them over the past year. Having a clean bill of health will set you up for a healthy winter and send you into the new year at the top of your game.
Get your flu shot
While you're at the doctor's office, make sure you get your annual flu shot. Taking this small step to prevent illness will keep you on your feet throughout the colder months. Not only will this save you money by preventing you from needing to purchase flu remedies, you also won't need to miss work or holiday festivities.
If you do come down with the flu or a cold, the medicine to alleviate your symptoms will be an eligible expense if you obtain a prescription from your doctor.
Stay active with the right supplies
Many people use the cold weather as an excuse to sit inside on the couch until spring comes around. But staying active is one of the best ways to keep yourself feeling great through the winter months. So get your body what it needs for you to exercise comfortably and safely.
If you're going to be participating in outdoor activities, pick up sunscreen (make sure it's at least SPF 15+ and broad spectrum). Even if it's cold out, the sun can still be strong enough to burn you, especially if it's reflecting off the snow.
And if you usually use a knee brace or similar equipment while working out, take the time to check that it's in good condition. Things like supports and insoles wear out over time and you'll need to replace them to prevent discomfort and injury. These items for the most part are eligible for HSA reimbursement.
Take care of your mental health
Many people find that the winter months exacerbate mental health conditions and struggle to feel like themselves. If you find that you struggle with mental health over the winter, remember that counseling and therapy are eligible expenses. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health, so it shouldn't be neglected.
These appointments can be with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or even a social worker. In some cases your administrator may require a letter of medical necessity, so check in with them before making an appointment.
Whether you're spending steadily or saving for something big, Wage Up! is where we highlight the latest services available to buy with your HSA, every Monday on the HSA Learning Center. And for everything else about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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