State employees can making the most of dental coverage | NevadaAppeal.com

State employees can making the most of dental coverage

Dr. Matthew Schofield, DMD
For the Nevada Appeal

The facts are too well known. Economic hardship is causing pain from sea to sea. Nevada is no exception. Rather, it may be the poster child of our struggling national economy. The August report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks Nevada as the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 13.4 percent. As a result, businesses large and small have seen wage and benefit cutbacks. The state budget has suffered, as well. State employees understand these challenges as they have seen furlough days, salary cuts and insurance benefit decreases. We all are learning to make less stretch further. As we tighten our collective belts, we need to learn to more efficiently learn to use what we have.

As a dental care provider I have the opportunity to treat many state employees. As we see patients, my staff and I have tried to help them understand and take maximum advantage of their new benefits plan, how to get the most out of their dental insurance. Let me offer a thought about the one of the best uses of Nevada state dental insurance benefits.

The Nevada state annual dental benefit has decreased from $1,500 to $1,000. The dental calendar year for state employees runs from July 1 through June 30. Thus, during that year period the state will pay up to $1,000 toward a covered person’s dental care. While the state determined, as a budgetary matter, to decrease the total benefit, it also didn’t want to leave employees without adequate help. Thus, the new dental plan contained an important provision that is very favorable for covered members. Each covered person is entitled to have four cleanings a year.

As a dentist committed to providing top-quality dental care and helping patients maintain peak oral health, a benefit that allows four cleanings each year has the potential to significantly reduce patient expense while helping patients maintain happy smiles. When a patient is at the dental office four times per year for cleanings, dental providers can find and inexpensively treat smaller cavities before they become large and the required treatment more extensive and costly. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

We urge all state employees and their covered family members to meet with their dental care providers and discuss ways to maintain quality treatment while staying within allotted dental insurance budgets.

• Dr. Matthew Schofield

practices with Mountain

Dental in Carson City.