As 2020 draws to a close, you are likely reflecting on the events of the past year and looking ahead to 2021. As we approach the end of the year and you are setting goals for yourself for 2021, now is a great time to do a thorough review of your overall health and well-being and consider any adjustments you may want to make going into the new year. Your health and wellness should be a priority, and you can start 2021 knowing you have fully assessed your healthcare needs.
To make it easier, here is an end-of-year checklist to review. Consider these healthcare-related items as you take charge of your personal health and wellness going into the new year.
Schedule Annual Exams
It is important to be consistent with yearly health check-ups. Consider scheduling a visit to your primary care physician for an annual exam and routine blood and lab work to assess the overall state of your health. Make sure that you stay up on other annual health check-ups, including hearing, eye, and dental exams.
Additionally, depending on your age and family medical history, check with your physician about whether you should schedule preventative screenings for cancer, such as a mammogram, colonoscopy, prostate check, or any other medical conditions you may be at risk of developing — including high blood pressure, diabetes, or stroke.
Evaluate Insurance Options
Health insurance plans and coverage change from year to year, so it is important to take some time to review your coverage and select options that meet your specific needs, as well as the needs of your loved ones. Also consider long-term and short-term care options as you plan for retirement and the future.
Review Savings and Discount Programs
There are health-related savings and discounts available to Americans over 50 and their families. Review savings and discount programs for health-related expenses such as prescriptions, eyeglasses, hearing aids and more. AARP Member Benefits is a resource with information on health discounts available to AARP members and their families, including dental, hearing and vision care.
Maximize Health Savings
If you have a health savings account, review your balance to see if you have funds to spend on qualified medical expenses that need to be used by the end of the year. These qualified medical expenses can include office visit co-payments, dental expenses, vision care, prescription drugs and more for yourself, your spouse or eligible dependents.
Take Action to Stay Healthy
Consult your primary care physician about vaccinations and immunizations that are right for you. For many older adults, you will want to ask your physician about vaccinations for influenza, pneumonia, shingles and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis).
As we approach the new year, use this this health checklist to prioritize your health and wellness in 2021. You can start the new year with peace of mind knowing that you are being proactive about your health. If you are an AARP member, you can get more information about your healthcare options by visiting https://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/.