The end of the year is fast approaching, and for many dental insurance customers this means that annual benefits may be expiring. This year has brought about many changes for families in the Vancouver, WA area; from the closure of our favorite restaurants, work & education taking place at home and general uncertainty about the upcoming year. For our team, we had to learn new safety measures to keep both our patients and staff safe, and were closed for a few months early in the year. You may be preoccupied with thoughts of holiday travel and family visits in December, but Whether you have delayed your visit to our office due to the pandemic or not, don’t forget to check on your annual dental insurance benefits and make sure you’re getting the most out of your coverage.
For most insurance providers, dental benefits expire on December 31st. Dental insurance companies generally set a yearly limit on the benefits you can receive within a single calendar year. If you do not use those benefits by the end of that year, your benefit amount resets on January 1st.. Unfortunately, even though some dental offices have had limited availability due to closures and social distancing measures, most dental insurance providers are not providing an extension of benefits. Leaving an unused benefit amount at the end of the year is like leaving money on the table. You’ve paid your insurance premiums throughout the year, so you deserve to get the most out of your coverage.
The situation is even more urgent if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). With these plans, money is deducted from your paycheck each pay period to fund the account. You may be able to carry a balance over to the next year, but in many cases there are limits to how much of your FSA balance may transfer into the next year. It’s better to use up these funds instead of risking losing them.
There’s no question that you should use up any expiring dental insurance benefits. But what should you spend it on? Here are a few ideas:
- Preventative care and regular checkups are always a great choice. Most dental insurance providers pay for 100% of preventative care treatments, so you can usually get this taken care of without paying anything out of pocket. If you haven’t had a regular checkup or cleaning recently, December is a great time to do it.
- Plan out more extensive dental procedures. It may be too late to get a more complex treatment on your dentist’s schedule, but you should at least be able to have an initial consultation to get a treatment plan. If you need dental implants, braces, or some other cosmetic dentistry procedure, you may be able to split the cost of multiple visits over multiple years by spending one year’s benefits on a consultation in December, and having your procedure done the following year.
- Work with your insurance provider and your dentist to understand what procedures are covered under your insurance. Review your dental insurance policy and call your provider if you have any questions. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a procedure that is both necessary and covered by your insurance, consult your dentist to discuss how you can get the procedure covered under the current year’s benefits.
It’s a great idea to use up your dental insurance benefits by the end of the year, but appointments can fill up fast as a result. Don’t delay – contact Dr. Bowyer today to get an appointment before the end of the year.