Few Americans take full advantage of their dental insurance policies every year.
And boy, do we mean “few.” According to the National Association of Dental Plans, 97 percent of PPO policyholders fail to use up all their dental benefits by Dec. 31, when many plans — and the benefits that go with it — expire. That means that the vast majority of Americans pay for benefits they ultimately don’t get to use!
But there is good news: There may still be time to squeeze in one last checkup before the end of the year! This is a busy time for Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care, but our caring administrative team would be happy to help you find a time to come in. We want to help you make the most of the investment you made in your dental health when you opted into dental insurance.
Dental Insurance Basics
Let’s start with some dental insurance basics.
With most dental insurance plans, you pay monthly premiums in exchange for a maximum amount you can spend on dental care that year. Most dental plans will cover preventative care — things like routine exams and cleanings — but some will also offer partial coverage for more involved treatments like root canal therapy or dental crowns.
Unfortunately, many dental insurance plans and benefits expire on Dec. 31. That means that if you paid your premiums all year long but didn’t spend that maximum amount on dental care by the end of the year, you essentially paid the insurance company for benefits you didn’t use!
The same Dec. 31 expiration date also holds true with many flexible spending accounts, or FSAs. These accounts are typically set up through your place of employment, and they allow you to set aside money throughout the year to eventually use for expenses related to dental care.
During the enrollment period each year, you get to decide how much money is deducted from your paycheck before taxes and put into your FSA. Unfortunately, with many FSAs, money deposited during the plan year must be used by Dec. 31.
It’s important to note, however, that this isn’t the case with all FSA, so you should check with your employer. Some employers provide a grace period beyond the end of the year, during which employees can use their FSA funds. Others allow funds to roll over from one year to the next.
There’s Still Time To Use Your Benefits
If it looks like you’ll end the year with unused benefits, don’t panic. The first thing you should do is review the details of your dental insurance plan. Not all plans expire on Dec. 31, so you may have more time than you thought to take advantage of your benefits.
Now, if you review your plan document or talk with your employer and find out that your benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, that’s OK. There’s still time to use them!
The friendly administrative team at Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care would be happy to help you determine whether you can use your benefits in our office and help you schedule an appointment. We accept most PPO plans! We also have other easy payment options for your convenience, including CareCredit and our In-House Dental Assistance Savings Plan.
Dr. Roeder understands that top-notch dental care for the whole family can be pricey. He wanted to help families who were committed to great dental health. That’s why he created our In-House Dental Assistance Savings Plan! For a low monthly payment, you’ll get discounts on a variety of services throughout the year, including routine cleanings, fillings, periodontal treatments and more!
Planning For Great Dental Care In 2018
Even if you lose out on some dental benefits this year, making sure you understand your dental insurance plan and proper planning can help you make the most of your policy!
Here are some ways to do that:
- Think about your dental care early and often. It’s recommended that you come in once every six months for a routine cleaning and checkup, so an easy way to do that is schedule one early in the year and then again in the late summer or early fall. At your second routine visit, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist about any procedures or follow-up appointments you’ll need before the end of the year.
- Keep up with your preventative dental care. Regular visits (as well as proper dental hygiene) make it less likely that you’ll need expensive curative procedures down the road.
- During your FSA open enrollment period, think about what kind of dental care you’ll need in the coming year. Sure, you can’t predict the future, but giving this careful consideration will ensure you don’t contribute more than you’ll realistically use.