The end of the calendar year brings warm, comforting thoughts of the holiday season, spending time with family and friends, and celebrating the new year. While that sounds lovely, don’t settle into your winter holiday celebrations quite yet.
At this time of year, we are all very aware of the value of a dollar and the importance of getting the most value for our money. Take a moment to look back over your dental insurance policy to see what coverages you may have used. You may have precious benefits sitting there just waiting to be used.
Unfortunately, for many patients, dental insurance benefits expire at the end of the year. Don’t let your benefits go to waste! Keep reading to discover how to maximize your dental benefits before the end of 2021.
What Is Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance or a dental benefits plan is designed to cover the financial aspect of dental care. It is separate from medical health insurance which focuses on overall health. Insurance plans may be funded by an employer or self-funded by the patient.
Either way, they work the same way. Someone pays into the plan which covers or pays for at least a portion of your dental services. Therefore, if a patient fails to visit a dentist regularly, skips appointments, or doesn’t get the recommended restorative procedures, he/she is essentially throwing that money away.
Dental Benefits Plans
Dental benefits plans offer a variety of coverage options and come with potentially confusing vocabulary terms – deductible, premium, and maximum. Each applies to a different factor in a dental plan and is important to know when trying to understand your benefits.
The premium is the amount that you or your employee must pay monthly or annually for dental coverage. This amount varies depending on the specific insurance plan and company. This amount is paid regardless of whether you actually get any dental services, even something as routine as an exam or cleaning. The money is paid upfront, and you will not get it back.
A deductible is a common part of any insurance plan. This is the portion that you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company steps in to cover your costs. Your deductible will not roll over! Coverages for deductibles vary from plan to plan. In some cases, preventative services are covered benefits so you do not have to meet your deductible prior to the insurance company footing the bill.
The deductible is the amount YOU must pay before the insurance kicks in to pay for expenses, but the annual maximum is the MOST they will pay or cover each calendar year. Each time you go to the dentist for a treatment or appointment, your insurance company is billed. They will pay a portion of that bill until your maximum is reached. At that point, the plan will not cover or pay for any other services until the plan resets on January 1st.
Most patients do not meet or fulfill their full maximum benefits. These precious benefits and dollars are just sitting there and wasted. They do not even roll over; instead they expire at the end of each year.
Flexible Spending Accounts
A flexible spending account (FSA) is essentially a tax-exempt savings account that is used solely for medical or dental expenses. It is separate from your dental insurance, but it can be used in conjunction with insurance benefits to pay for your dental needs. Typically products or services that treat or prevent dental problems are eligible for FSA coverage.
Ways to Use Your Dental Benefits Before They Expire
Now is the time to schedule your dental appointments to max out your dental benefits. Don’t let your benefits expire before you can use them. Book an appointment with your dentist to ensure your oral health is on track.
Prevention is often the best medicine or treatment. The same holds true with dental care. Staying on top of your oral care with exams and cleanings helps prevent more serious, potentially expensive issues in the future.
Many dental insurance plans fully cover preventative dental appointments. If you are due for a routine dental exam, cleaning, or x-rays, be sure to schedule your appointment before the end of 2021.
Your dental coverage does not just apply to preventative care, restorative needs are often at least partially covered. This includes procedures to restore decayed, damaged, or missing teeth. If you need a filling, root canal, dental crown or bridge, or dentures, check your insurance benefits and schedule your appointment.
No Insurance? Ask about Our Dental Savings Program
Using dental insurance benefits or your FSA funds isn’t the only way to save on your oral care. At Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we believe nothing should stand in the way of a healthy smile. We offer a dental savings program to help make dental care more affordable.
Book an Appointment with Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Keep smiling and maximize your dental insurance benefits before they expire at the end of 2021. Let the team at Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry help you make the most of your benefits while maintaining your oral health. We offer affordable dental services in Pineville, NC, and look forward to helping our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles.
Don’t lose your insurance benefits! Schedule an appointment today.