Use it or lose it | NevadaAppeal.com

Use it or lose it

December 31 is the deadline for using dental benefits! Give yourself the gift of good oral health this season while making the most of your unused insurance benefits.

It's that time again, in a matter of weeks, 2017 will be coming to an end. The holiday season is quickly arriving and your calendar will soon be full with obligations and festivities. We want to take this opportunity to remind you to schedule your dental appointments to complete treatment or preventative hygiene appointments before the years ends, and any unused dental insurance benefits are lost. Give yourself the gift of good oral health this season while making the most of your unused insurance benefits.

Maximize your insurance benefits – before the end of the year!

We've all heard the saying, "use it or lose it!", Well that is especially true when it comes to dental benefits. Each year, you work hard to earn your benefits and, before you know it the year is gone and so are your unused benefits. While some dental insurance plans run on a fiscal year, the majority of dental insurance plans are based on a calendar year, which means, your 2017 annual benefits will expire when the clock strikes 12 midnight on december 31st. If you don't take advantage of them, they are simply lost.

All dental insurance plans come with what is known as a deductible. The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services.

If your dental insurance plan is on a calendar year, listed below are some tips on how to maximize your dental benefits, and why you should make a dental appointment now:

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Saving money

Did you know that insurance companies make millions of dollars off patients who forego necessary and preventative dental care? Many individuals simply do not schedule the necessary dental treatment that they have insurance to cover. You could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year. Call your dental insurance provider and find out the exact amount of your unspent dental benefits. If you are unsure, contact your dentists office and they will usually be able to assist you in obtaining this information. You might save a significant amount of money by taking care of these appointments now, instead of waiting until 2018.

Get treatment before you deductible resets

All dental insurance plans come with what is known as a deductible. The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. This fee varies from one plan to another and could be higher if you choose an out-of-network dentist. However, the average deductible for a dental insurance plan is usually around $50 per year. Your deductible also starts again when your plan rolls over. Many dental insurances provide little to no coverage until you spend a certain amount out of your own pocket – your annual deductible. If you've used your insurance at all this year, you've probably made some progress towards meeting that deductible. In fact, you may have already met it completely.

Dental premiums & plan changes

If you are paying your dental insurance premiums each month, you should be using your benefits. Even if you have healthy teeth and don't need any dental treatment at this time, you should always have your regular dental cleanings to help prevent and detect any signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and other dental problems. Also, your regular cleanings and exams are usually covered at 100 percent.

Another reason to use your dental care benefits before the end of the year is possible coverage changes. Insurance companies often make changes to the benefits they provide, which could include changes in procedures covered and co-pays.

Dental problems can worsen

By addressing dental problems now rather than putting off treatment can prevent the problems from getting worse, which could save you even more money compared to waiting. By delaying dental treatment, you are risking more extensive and expensive treatment down the road. What may be a simple cavity now, could turn into a root canal later or possibly even lead to tooth loss. Call your dentist and schedule an appointment to use those benefits.

Use up your existing FSA contributions

If you have funds set aside in a flexible spending account (FSA) or healthcare savings account (hsa), now is the time to schedule treatment so your co-payment amounts can be applied to this year's deductions. Most FSA contributions also operate on the use it or lose it system. If you participate in a flexible spending or health savings account, and you don't use all your benefits before the end of the year, you will forfeit any left-over money in these accounts, it can't be carried over to the next year and is lost to you forever.

Schedule early

Now is the time to get any treatments done that you may have been holding off on. Call to schedule an appointment for yourself and your family members as soon as possible. This will improve your changes of securing an appointment that is most convenient to you, during this busy holiday season. Remember the gift of good oral health and a beautiful smile is priceless.

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