Dental insurance makes paying for dental care easier and more affordable, but that doesn’t mean everyone makes an effort to visit. According to the American Dental Association, the average American only uses $323 of their dental benefits. Considering that the average annual maximum for dental insurance plans hovers around $1,250, people are regularly wasting hundreds of dollars every year.
That’s why a dentist in Flagstaff is going over the best ways to maximize your benefits before they inevitably expire in the upcoming year.
Dental Insurance is “Use It or Lose It”
It’s typical for dental insurance plans to expire at the end of the year, usually on December 31st, and renew on January 1st. That means any benefits that you didn’t use prior to December 31st, whether they be for preventive or restorative treatments, will be unusable one January 1st arrives. Based on reports by the National Association of Dental Plans, only 2.8 percent of people with a PPO dental plan reach or exceed their annual maximum. Unfortunately, this is a problem that’s quite common.
Keep in mind that dollars kept in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) typically do not carry over into the next year either. In some cases, those dollars may be usable in the next year, but only at a discounted rate. Essentially, you’re losing money either way by not scheduling an appointment now, and doing this will only become increasingly difficult as the end of the year draws closer.
Start With What You Need
First, take a moment to go over your benefits with either the insurance company directly, your employer, or a dental employee during your next visit. They can go over the nuances of your plan and the benefits you currently have left. Once you know what’s available, you can start planning your next treatment.
If you’ve only visited the dentist once this year for a routine checkup, start by getting that second checkup scheduled as typically two visits a year are covered between 80 and 100 percent through insurance. This will typically include a cleaning, exam, or X-rays. If you have unfinished restorative treatments, such as dental fillings or crowns, insurance companies may cover a significant portion of these as well.
Try to Stagger Large Treatments
It’s no question that some treatments require multiple appointments to complete. This is just another reason why it’s so important to get scheduled and build a treatment plan now. If you have multiple crowns or fillings to place or a root canal to start, staggering these treatments across several months is an ideal method for maximizing insurance benefits. You may be able to utilize this year’s benefits on the first steps of your treatment, then plan out next year’s treatment in accordance with your renewed benefits.
Don’t let your benefits go to waste. Schedule an appointment to learn the details of your policy!
About the Author
Dr. John L. Bacon earned his DDS degree from the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry. His practice is prevention-orientated and always working to help patients understand their insurance benefits before they expire. To learn more about his practice or get scheduled now, you can contact him through his website.