Go ahead—take a look at your calendar. We’ll wait. Hard to believe that 2017 is almost over and 2018 is just around the corner. Before you ring in the New Year, be sure to make good use of the benefits on your dental insurance plan. The only thing they’ll be doing to celebrate the New Year is expiring. Not good for you or your smile. Dental insurance is designed to help you and your family reap the rewards of a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile, but only if you take full advantage of your benefits.
Use Your Benefits or Lose Them
The National Association of Dental Plans estimates that only 2.8 percent of people who have PPO dental plans reach or exceed their plan’s annual maximum. Similarly, people with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) that help pay for dental and medical care with pre-tax dollars leave money on the table at the end of the year.
Whether you have a dental insurance benefits plan or an FSA, your hard-earned dollars need to be spent before December 31st or they will run out.
How to Make the Most of Your Benefits
Dental benefits are often purchased through an employer, or they can be purchased through individual plans. Regardless of the type of plan you have, there is almost always a premium that must be paid for the privilege of having dental insurance. These upfront dollars are wasted when you and your family don’t see the dentist regularly.
So, for the sake of your wallet and your smile, you should take advantage of dental benefits before they expire at the end of the year.
The first step is to maintain regular preventive checkups. Most plans pay 100 percent for dental cleanings and exams, so there’s really no reason not to schedule an appointment now if you need one.
Secondly, speak to your dentist about your dental needs and what treatment you may require before the end of the year. If more than one appointment is necessary, try to schedule them early so you don’t run in to the busy holiday season at the end of the year.
Flexible Spending Accounts
An FSA is arranged through your employer. You decide how much money goes into the account and a portion is deducted from each paycheck pre-tax. Very often, these accounts work like debit cards and you use the card to pay for medical and dental expenses. At the dentist’s office an FSA usually cover preventive services, a portion of some restorative services, dentures, braces for dental health, and co-pays.
While some FSAs offer a grace period of a couple of months, eventually money unspent is money lost. Be sure to check with your employer’s human resources representative or the FSA administrator to know what your plan allows.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Rashpal Deol is the dentist in San Ramon who works with many insurance companies and is in network with Delta Dental. We’ll be happy to tell you what your insurance will cover and file your claim for you.