As the year draws to a close, it's not just the holiday season that should be on your mind – it's also an ideal time to take a closer look at your dental insurance benefits. Most dental insurance plans run on a calendar year, and as December 31st approaches, any unused benefits typically don't roll over to the next year. Here's why it's crucial to make the most of your dental insurance before the year ends.
Understanding Your Dental Insurance Plan
Most dental insurance plans have a yearly maximum – the most money that the plan will pay for your dental work within one full year. This amount varies by insurance company, but the average is typically around $1,000 per person, per year. Premiums are paid for these benefits whether you use them or not.
Why You Should Use Your Benefits Now
- Yearly Maximums Reset: Your plan's yearly maximum typically renews every year on January 1st. If you haven't used your entire amount, it won't roll over – you'll lose it.
- Deductibles Start Over: The deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket for dental services before your insurance kicks in. This resets yearly, so if you've already met your deductible, it's more cost-effective to complete any treatment before the year ends.
- Possible Fee Increases: Due to increasing costs of living, labor, and equipment, dental offices occasionally raise their rates. Utilizing your benefits before a potential increase can save you money.
- Dental Problems Can Worsen: Postponing dental treatment often leads to more extensive and expensive procedures in the future. Using your benefits now can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.
How to Make the Most of Your Benefits
- Schedule a Check-Up: If you haven't yet had two cleanings this year, schedule one now. Preventative care is usually covered by most dental plans and can help detect problems early.
- Complete Pending Treatments: If you've been delaying any dental work, like fillings or crowns, now is the time to schedule an appointment.
- Plan for Major Procedures: If you need a significant procedure, consider starting it now. If your treatment extends into two calendar years, you can use two annual maximums, reducing your out-of-pocket cost.
- Review Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): If you have an FSA, check the balance. Some plans require the funds to be spent before year's end, while others offer a grace period or allow a carry-over of a portion of the funds.
Don't let your hard-earned dental benefits go to waste. Take advantage of what your dental insurance offers before the year ends. Contact your dental office to schedule an appointment and discuss any pending treatments. Your teeth – and your wallet – will thank you for it! Remember, proactive dental care is not only good for your oral health but also for your overall well-being.