Use it or lose it: Maximizing your dental benefits by end of the year | NevadaAppeal.com

Use it or lose it: Maximizing your dental benefits by end of the year

Drs. James Smerdon, Derek Johnson
In the Dentists’ Office

Did you know that your dental benefits reset every year? It's true, and it's that time again, in a matter of weeks, 2018 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 preventive hygiene appointments before the year's 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 2018 annual benefits will expire when the clock strikes 12 midnight on Dec. 31. 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 insurance companies make millions of dollars off patients who forego necessary and preventive 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. In addition, once your deductible has been paid, your out-of-pocket expenses can decrease dramatically, making it an ideal situation for larger dental treatments.

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 2019.

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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 toward 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.

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. Check with your employer on their specific FSA benefits before the end of the year so you don't forfeit any of the benefits in these accounts.

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 with The Dentists' Office as soon as possible. This will improve your chances 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.