Fall is here… and that means the end of the year is right around the corner. If you’re a planner, you just might be “making that list and checking it twice.” That’s right… Christmas will be here before you know it!
The holidays aside, it’s also a good time to think about any last minute dental care you or someone in your family might need. There are only a couple of months left to get the most out of your dental benefits.
December 31st not only marks the end of the year, but also the end of the plan year for most dental insurance companies, Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts.
If you are paying your dental insurance premiums every month, you should be using your benefits – even if it’s just for your regular dental cleanings. Regular visits to the dentist help prevent and detect early signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer or other dental problems.
This is especially important for children.
If your child hasn’t had their dental check-up yet, schedule an appointment now.
Getting them in the dental chair now can help prevent emergency dental visits, missed time from work and school, and hopefully prevent dental problems from becoming bigger and more costly down the road.
Also keep in mind that the majority of dental insurance policies typically have a max coverage limit for each calendar year (usually around $1000, but can vary from plan to plan). If you haven’t used all your benefit dollars yet, you cannot carry them over to the next plan year.
Here are a couple other things to keep in mind when it comes to your dental insurance:
Deductible – This is the amount of money that you must pay your dentist out-of-pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. Deductible amounts vary from one plan to another and are often higher out-of-network. Average deductible for a dental insurance plan is usually around $50/year. Your deductible resets when your plan rolls over.
Fee Increases – Dentists often raise their rates at the start of a new year due to the increased cost of living, materials and equipment. A fee increases can affect your co-pay.
FSA or HSA Dollars… Use Them or Lose Them
FSA and some HSA benefits also expire at the end of the year. If you haven’t met your yearly maximum, the remaining amount likely won’t roll over into the next year – and that means you’ll lose out on the chance to make the most of those dollars.
Now is the time to consider these treatments:
Preventative services – This can include cleanings, sealants, fluoride applications and other treatments designed to minimize tooth decay.
Treatment for existing disease – Such as x-rays, fillings, extractions, dentures and bridges.
Dental crowns – Keep in mind that for insurance to cover this, you must need the crown to restore function – it can’t just be for cosmetic reasons. Be sure your provider indicates this on the bill before you make any sort of payment.
Dental implants – The extraction and surgical procedure to install the posts are also included. Like crowns, implants must be needed to restore proper biting and chewing function.
You can also use your flexible spending account to pay for braces. There are some special rules that apply, so be sure to pre-qualify your orthodontia expenses before making an election each plan year.
At Bedminster Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we want to provide you and your family with the highest-quality dental care possible — and that also means helping you get the most out of your dental benefits.
Don’t delay! If you need a treatment or service that will take several appointments, you want to make sure you can get through the insurance and billing process in time. Call us today to make an appointment!
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is passionate about providing top-quality, comprehensive dental care. He is located in Bedminster, NJ whose continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee.