Dental Benefits: Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em
December 03, 2015
Categories: Dentistry FAQs
The end of the year is quickly approaching, and wrapping up your to-do list can seem daunting. Between Christmas shopping, holiday planning and meeting other commitments, it may seem like there is not enough time left in the year.
But one item you should bump up on your list is that last-minute dental appointment. Whether you have used them or not, any unused dental benefits will be lost forever.
To make sure you take advantage of everything your plan has to offer, here is what you should know about maximizing your benefits before the clock starts over.
Do My Benefits Really Reset Each Year?
Dental coverage benefits are not like vacation hours. Most insurance plans include a maximum annual benefit that is available, which does not carry over with the new year. If you do not use up to that maximum amount, your balance is lost at the end of each year.
Also, by this time of year, you have probably already met your deductible, which you pay out-of-pocket before your insurer contributes. Waiting until the new year means that deductible will reset, and you will be back to square one.
Maximizing Your Remaining Benefits
The first step to using your benefits to the fullest is tracking how many dollars remain on your plan.
You should receive a summary of services after every dental procedure, which will show you how much was paid and what your contribution was. You should read this document fully to keep track of how many benefit dollars remain.
And although plans vary from one insurer to another, most plans can be viewed on your insurer’s website. If your plan is not able to be viewed online, you should be able to contact them over the phone with questions.
What Procedures are Covered by my Benefits?
Depending on how much time remains to schedule an appointment, and how many benefit dollars remain, preventative and diagnostic procedures could be the best way to use your plan.
A standard dental plan usually covers two dental cleanings a year, periodic bitewing x-rays, and full mouth x-rays every five years. If you have any of these procedures remaining, getting them in before the new year is a good idea.
Make Sure Everyone is Up to Date
Do not forget to include all of your family members when maximizing your dental plan – if you have children, make sure their check-ups and cleanings are also up-to-date.
An Ounce of Prevention
Not only are preventative appointments (like cleanings) easier to schedule in the remaining months, but they can save you money in the long run too. Taking care of a simple problem now, like a cavity, can prevent a costlier procedure next year, such as a root canal.
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