Online resources have made it easier than ever for individuals to find high-quality, affordable dental care. To effectively leverage this care, however, there are a few things you should know. Here are some smart ways to maximize the value of your dental benefits.
Delay or stagger your dental work when appropriate.
If advisable, it’s best to schedule your dental treatments for times when you will be eligible for the most insurance coverage. For instance, if it is November and you have already reached your annual maximum coverage cap, ask your dentist if you can put off your treatment until after the New Year, when your cap resets. If you need an especially expensive set of treatments, you may also be able to stagger them, so you can leverage your annual maximum coverage for two years. In other words, consider getting one part of the treatment in November or December and another in January or February.
Get a pre-treatment review.
Ask your dentist to contact your dental carrier to confirm coverage in advance of expensive treatments. Make sure you fully understand exactly how much you will have to pay out-of-pocket. You should also know whether your plan includes a least expensive alternative treatment (LEAT) approach, which may not cover certain types of treatments.
Get routine checkups.
While many people view dental insurance as a safety net that will protect them against costly emergencies, it was designed to do much more. After selecting a dental plan, the best way to maximize its value is by seeing your local dentist regularly. This will allow you to get effective preventative care that will keep you from having to pay deductibles for costly treatments down the road.
Plan for emergencies.
While you may be confident that your insurance plan provides coverage for your family dentist, that may not cover all the bases. If you suffer an emergency after hours or while your dentist is on vacation, you may have to seek timely treatment from an emergency clinic that doesn’t accept your plan. Ask your dentist or insurance provider to recommend an emergency dentist and check to see if he or she accepts your insurance. Be sure to enter this dentist’s contact information in your phone, so you will know who to call for emergencies.
Understand your coverage.
It’s not enough to simply secure dental insurance; you also need to understand what you are getting. Dig into the details and fully research the limitations, coverage and exclusions. If you have a dentist you’d like to keep, ask him or her about the plans they participate in and recommend. The typical dentist is interested in keeping customers happy, while also ensuring that they get paid. Most are happy to sit down and talk with you about your insurance needs, especially if it means they get to keep you as a patient.