Maximize your insurance benefits

In a matter of weeks, 2015 will be coming to an end. The holiday season is quickly arriving and your calendar will soon be full with obligations and festivities.

But, even though your time may be limited, it might be worthwhile to add a few dental appointments to your schedule. Give yourself the gift of good oral health this season while making the most of your unused insurance benefits.

Maximize your insurance benefits

We’ve all heard the saying, “Use It or Lose It!” — 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 2015 annual benefits will expire at the end of the calendar year. Many government employees’ policies usually finish their ficsal year on Jun 3, but The Dentist’s Office can help you with your policy information.

If you have dental insurance, your insurer has allowed so many dollars per calendar year and unused dollars to not carry--over. If you don’t take advantage of them, they are simply lost.

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:

Saving Money

Did you know that you could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year? Many dental insurance plans are just sitting there with benefits unused and go to waste as soon as the clock strikes midnight Dec. 31. You might save a significant amount of money by taking care of these appointments now, instead of waiting until 2016.

Dental insurance companies count on making millions of dollars off of patients who never use their insurance benefits because unbeknown to the consumer, many of these plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. But insurance companies certainly aren’t going to encourage customers to use benefits, and most patients are too busy to sift through their policies to determine what might remain on them. So it’s up to consumers to check to see what benefits they have remaining before year end. 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.

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

Another good reason to take care of medical and dental work now is to spend any remaining balance in your flexible spending account (FSA). 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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