As we start off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, now is a wise time to consider your dental insurance benefits before the end of the year. We want you to make the most of your hard-earned money.
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“Use it or lose it” is not just for your muscles and brain but for your dental benefits, too. Each year, your insurance company agrees to pay some portion of your dental care. This dental “budget” belongs to you–it’s your money but only until the end of each year. If your insurance plan renews every new year, it means you are about to lose any unused benefit money. Toward the end of the year, we all get busy and before you know it, the year is gone and so are your unused benefits. Whatever you didn’t use this year is the money forever lost for your future care. Most dental offices are well-booked for the remaining year, so here is why you should make a dental appointment right now–today:
1. Save money.
You could save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year. Most dental insurance plans run on a calendar year. Many dental insurance plans are just sitting there with benefits unused and go to waste as soon as the clock strikes midnight on December 31. You might save significant money by taking care of these appointments now instead of waiting until 2023.
Dental insurance companies count on keeping millions of dollars from patients who do not use up their insurance benefits. Many of these plans offer you a certain dollar amount annually. Your insurance company will not contact you if you have not used your total amount. Unfortunately, most patients are too busy to sift through their policies to determine what might remain on them. But it is up to consumers to check to see what benefits they have remaining before year-end.
2. Get treatment before your deductible resets.
The deductible is the amount you must first pay before you can use your insurance to pay for any services. This fee varies from one plan to another, with the average deductible being around between $50 – $100 every year. Your deductible resets every year when you continue to use the same insurance. If you’ve used your insurance this year, you’ve made some progress toward meeting that deductible. You may have already met it completely.
3. Use up annual maximums.
With dental insurance, the annual maximum is the limit on how much the insurance plan will pay for your dental work within one year. This amount varies by the insurance company but is commonly around $1,000-2,000 per year per person. The yearly maximum usually renews yearly (on January 1 if your plan is on a calendar year). If you have unused benefits, these will not roll over to the next year. Therefore, your dental insurance benefit is said to be a use-or-lose-it benefit.
4. Monthly premiums are your investment for your health if you use it.
If you pay your dental insurance premiums monthly, you should use your benefits. Even if you don’t need dental treatment, you should always keep regular hygiene care to help prevent and detect any early signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, other dental problems and strengthen teeth.
5. Dental problems only worsen over time.
Furthermore, addressing dental problems now rather than putting off treatment can prevent a dental problem from worsening. You can save yourself from having to deal with pain, to spend more time and money if you don’t wait any longer. You are risking more extensive and expensive treatment in the near future by delaying dental treatment. What may be a minor cavity could turn into a root canal, or tooth loss, if waited too long. The most common dental emergency time is often on weekend, late night, or during air travel. Infection can rapidly spread into other parts of the facial bone due to air pressure changes in airplanes. This is how dental infection rapidly spreads into the blood, leading to the fatal condition called “sepsis”. Sepsis is a blood infection that requires a hospital setting with an IV treatment–not something you want to end up needing while traveling.
6. 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) if you have one. It is an account that some employees establish through their employer. You may have elected to have some of your pre-tax pay put into your FSA. You must use all your FSA contributions by the end of the year. This is another “use it or lose it” benefit you need to remember.
It is best to address dental needs now instead of waiting until next year. Check with your insurer to see what benefits you have used and what you still have available. Also, if you have an FSA, check your balance. Then make sure to take full advantage of your benefits before January 1st. And remember, many dental offices are closed before December 31st so it is important to make an appointment now to secure your chair time at the office.
So, please don’t put it off. It will be 2023 before you know it! If you have any questions about how you can use your benefits at our office, please contact us now.
Your Dental Care Team at