Most insurance plans include stipulations that try to shift the cost of dental care back onto you, the insured, as much as possible. However, the end of the plan year, which usually coincides with the calendar year, provides an opportunity for you to get the most out of your insurance providers. If you want to get the best value out of your dental insurance benefits, here’s why you should schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Mark Sowell at Sensational Smiles in Plano, TX before the New Year.
1. The Yearly Max
Most dental insurance plans have an annual maximum coverage cap that resets on the first of the year. Usually, this amount is somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 per person, depending on your plan. Because this amount resets in January, it makes sense to use up to your maximum to get the best value from your insurance if you can.
2. Overlapping Years
If you have multiple costly related dental procedures lined up, you can schedule them to start before – and complete after – the start of the New Year. This is a smart way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs by dipping into the maximums of two benefit years.
Most dental insurance plans require you to pay up to a specific amount of money out-of-pocket before your benefits “kick in” and start paying. Once you’ve met your deductible, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Sowell for any procedure you may have been putting off. After all, once the first of the New Year rolls around, you’ll be stuck with a brand new deductible.
4. Monthly Premiums
If you are paying monthly premiums for your dental insurance coverage, you should really be using those benefits to make it worth your costs. Many people act as if their dental insurance as a safety net to deal with the costs of unexpected emergency dental procedures. However, even if you don’t currently have any serious dental problems, you should use your benefits to have routine preventative services such as cleanings to detect minor issues before they become serious.
If your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to which you contribute out of your paycheck on a pre-tax basis, you will want to use up your entire deduction amount for the year. If not, you will be forfeiting any FSA contributions you don’t use by the end of year deadline. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can also use the balance of that account to improve your oral health without suffering any tax penalties.
6. Fee Increases
Because of the increasing cost of operating materials and equipment, dental offices must raise their fees from time to time. As the New Year begins, providers often review their pricing to determine whether it is necessary to increase their fees. If you wait until after the New Year, you may end up paying a higher co-pay. So it makes sense to schedule your appointment in November or December, before any potential fee increases.
7. Dental Problems Will Get Worse
While it’s not uncommon to put off things we don’t want to do — especially dental work that might be uncomfortable — it’s not always the smartest decision. Unfortunately, most dental issues will only get worse if allowed to go untreated. Procrastinating can lead to even more discomfort due to more complicated procedures and higher costs when you finally do seek treatment.
If you make an appointment now, before the end of the year, you are likely to pay less for your treatment. On the other hand, if you wait, you may have to pay more and your dental insurance provider may not be willing to contribute as much. To learn more about the insurance and payment options we accept at Sensational Smiles, call our offices at (972) 382-6855.