With most dental plan years ending on 12/31, here’s what savvy patients should consider now to get the most out of their annual dental benefits.
At Keystone Dental Arts our goal with every one of our patients is to help you enjoy great oral health. As we approach the end of the year, we would like to remind patients how to get the most out of your dental insurance coverage.
The way your dental insurance benefits work is that you are provided a certain dollar amount of benefits each year. If you do not use those benefits, you lose them, and they go back into the insurance company’s bank account. Chances are, your dental insurance benefits will run-out or reset on January 1st.
While treatment is never dictated by insurance, if you have any treatment that remains to be completed, or you have any dental concerns at all, it would be very useful for you to understand these key tips for maximizing your benefits.
1. Use It Before You Lose It
Many patients don’t realize they have a yearly maximum, a pre-defined dental benefit amount to be used annually. The yearly maximum is the most money a dental insurance plan will pay for your dental work within a plan year. The amount can vary by plan, but the average is around $1,000 per year, per person. The yearly maximum usually renews every year (on January 1 if your plan is on a calendar year).
For example: If your year to date dental claims total $650 toward your $1000 yearly maximum, the remaining $350 in unused benefits most likely do not rollover and you forfeit them.
2. Get What You Pay For
Since you and/or your employer are paying for your dental insurance premiums every month, you should be using your benefits to get the most out of your plan. Even if you don’t need any dental treatment, you should always have your regular dental cleanings to help prevent cavities or detect early signs of gum disease, oral cancer or other dental health problems.
3. Timing of Treatment Decisions Could Cost You More Than Money
Most dental plans require a specific dollar deductible during the plan year benefit period, where you must meet a deductible amount “out of pocket” before your insurance company will contribute to your cost of dental treatment. Delaying recommended treatment not only risks a worsening condition, but may also mean more money out of pocket later on down the road.
Dr. Christian advises, “Postponing a needed treatment means you are risking a worsening dental condition that is only going to get more expensive. If you need a crown now, and you delay addressing it – then you might need a crown AND root canal later. Delay can sometimes also result in losing a tooth, which might end up costing significantly more money to replace.”
Need to use up your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balance?
Do it now- these dollars do not rollover.
*Consult your plan administrator or tax adviser for allowable dental expenses.
What will your coverage look like next year?
Employers struggling with the rising costs of healthcare are forced to consider reduced benefit allowances to maintain or control related expenses and premiums. The trend we see is the result of a compromise that can often mean a decline in coverage allowances from one year to the next.
Don’t throw money away by letting your hard earned benefits expire. If you haven’t been to the dentist at all this year, you are not only risking your health, you are leaving money on the table. Make an appointment with us today. With the end of the year fast approaching, appointments are limited.
Unsure if you have dental benefits remaining? Give us a call – we are happy to do the research for you.