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Many try to maximize healthcare benefits at year's end

Website seeks to make booking appointments easier

This holiday season, many people aren't just shopping for gifts for under the tree. Some are shopping for medical procedures trying to maximize their health insurance benefits.

"I had put it off for a couple years," Peggy Gaidos said, referring to her injured knee. The knee just kept getting worse, because it was bone on bone. It was very painful."

When it was time to have knee replacement surgery, she and her husband were strategic. They chose to wait until the end of the year when they had already met their medical deductible.

"So my husband and I decided, 'Hey, we got the deductible paid for, lets do it,'" she said.

By waiting until she had already met her $2,500 deductible, the $8,600 replacement surgery was just a few hundred dollars out of pocket.

"Common sense says, 'Let's get this over with and do it,'" she said.

Dr. Angela Merzenich is a family medicine specialist with Florida Healthcare plans.

She says she often sees patients forgo necessary procedures because they can't afford them. She says many are more willing once they have met their deductible.

"They now use it as an opportunity to get other things that need to be done, like their screening colonoscopy," Merzenich said.

With more people rushing to leverage their already met deductible before the end of the year, a new website is making it easier by allowing people to book appointments online.

It's called BookThatDoc.com.

"I think we've all experienced you're working, you try to call on your lunch hour, they're not open or you're put on hold for an extended period of time and you get frustrated," Jamie Daniels, the company's public relations and communications director told Local 6.

The website allows you to enter your criteria:

What type of doctor you need, the zip code you would prefer, your insurance, even your preference for the doctors language and gender.

Most importantly, it shows you the doctors' available dates and times and lets you book online.

"It's definitely more convenient to schedule an appointment on-line rather than picking up the phone," Daniels said.

Gaidos was looking for convenience and cost, and by leveraging her already met deductible, she got the knee she needed at the cost she wanted.

"It works really well," she said. "I get beeped at the airport, but outside of that it's fine."