Many insurance plans include preconditions that try to shift the cost of your dental care back onto you. However, the end of the benefit plan year provides an opportunity for you to turn the tables and get the most out of your insurance providers. If you want to get the most out of your dental insurance benefits, you should schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Ray Becker at Howard County Smiles in Ellicott City MD before the New Year. Here’s why:
- The Yearly Coverage Max
It is common for most dental insurance plans to have an annual maximum coverage cap. Ordinarily, this amount is somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 per person, with the coverage amount renewing every year on January 1st. Since this amount resets on the first of the year, it makes sense to use up to your maximum in the latter months of the year if you can.
- Overlapping Years
If you require a series of costly related dental procedures, it’s possible to schedule them to begin before – and complete after – the start of the New Year. This is a good way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs by dipping into the maximums of two benefit years.
If your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for you to contribute into out of your pay on a pre-tax basis, it’s to your benefit to use your entire deduction amount for the year. If not, you will be forfeiting any unused FSA contribution by the year end deadline. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can also improve your oral health by using the balance without suffering any tax penalties.
Most dental plans require you to have paid a set amount of money out-of-pocket before your benefits will start paying out. Once you’ve met your deductible, you should consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Becker for any procedure you may have been putting off. After all, once the New Year rolls around, you’ll be stuck with a brand new deductible.
- Monthly Premiums
If you are paying monthly premiums for dental insurance, you should be using your insurance to benefit your health. Many people view dental insurance as a safety net against the high costs of unexpected emergency dental procedures. If you aren’t currently suffering from any serious dental concerns, however, you should utilize your benefits for routine services such as cleanings to detect minor issues before they become serious.
- Fee increases
Due to the increasing cost of operating expenses such as materials or equipment, practitioners must unfortunately raise their fees from time to time. As the New Year begins, providers review their pricing to determine whether fee increases are needed or not. If you wait until after the New Year to schedule a necessary dental service, you may end up paying a higher co-pay. Scheduling your appointment in November or December, before any potential fee increases, will help you to avoid this.
- Dental Problems Will Get Worse
While it’s human nature to put off things we don’t want to do, especially dental work that might be uncomfortable, the vast majority of dental issues will unfortunately only get worse with time. Procrastination often leads to more discomfort and higher costs when you finally do seek treatment. If you go now, before the end of the year, you are likely to pay less for your necessary treatment. On the other hand, if you wait until next year, 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 Howard County Smiles, call our offices at 410.415.9013.