You’re likely paying for dental insurance, but are you taking advantage of those benefits? Most dental plans align with the calendar year, which means they will roll over on January 1st and any unused benefits will expire. Here’s everything you need to know about how your dental insurance works and why you should schedule a dentist appointment before your benefits expire.
Every year, you have to pay a certain amount out of pocket — called your deductible — before you can use your dental benefits. The amount varies depending on your insurance company, and is likely higher if you choose to see a dentist that is outside of our network. When your benefits expire at the end of the year, you’ll have to pay your deductible again to start benefiting from your insurance. So while waiting to schedule your dentist appointment after the holidays might seem more convenient, that convenience will come with an additional and unnecessary expense.
Your dental plan sets an annual maximum amount that can be spent on your dental care. Most dental plans limit maximums to around $1,000 per person, although amounts vary. Come January 1st, annual maximums will reset, and you will forfeit any unused benefits.
An insurance premium is the amount of money that you or your employer pays for your insurance policy, and is essentially income for your insurance company. Rather than let your insurance company pocket this money, use the benefits that you pay for!
Potential Fee Changes
An additional reason to schedule an appointment before the end of the year is that your dental plan may change. Dental fees could rise due to cost of living, in turn raising your copay; or your benefits themselves could change. If this happens, you could find yourself wishing you had used your benefits when they were cheaper or better.
When it comes to your oral health, preventive care is best — especially since most dental plans cover preventive visits completely. Additionally, existing dental issues will only get worse without treatment. By delaying your visit, you could be allowing new issues to develop, or minor problems to grow into major ones. What is now a small cavity could later be major tooth decay, requiring an invasive (and expensive) root canal or extraction. Visiting the dentist sooner rather than later could also help detect diseases such as oral cancer or gingivitis early on.
If your dental visit reveals that your teeth need further attention, you’ll be glad that you scheduled it before the end of the year, since you’ll be able to put the New Year’s benefits toward the necessary additional work. You can work with your dentist and insurance provider to determine your dental needs and what will be covered.
Begin the New Year With a Brighter Smile
Schedule a dentist appointment today at our location in Northgate, Seattle to take advantage of your expiring benefits and ensure the long-term health of your teeth. If you’re not sure if you have any remaining benefits, give us a call to find out. If you’ve already visited the dentist recently and still have benefits remaining, you may be able to use them for a teeth whitening or similar service.