Taking Advantage of Dental Insurance: When does your Insurance Renew?

Gentle Dental

Autumn is here, and there are only a few months left in the year. With this in mind, it’s important to take advantage of your remaining dental benefits before they expire. Here’s how you can maximize your dental coverage to keep your smile healthy and bright.

Understanding Your Cap

Most dental plans include annual caps that limit your coverage for specific types of treatments. In the vast majority of cases, you will be responsible for paying the remaining balance on a dental treatment after you’ve exhausted your insurance coverage for a given year.

Unfortunately, in most cases you can’t carry over any unused coverage to the following year. This means you will lose these benefits unless you use them before the calendar resets on January 1st. It’s smart to keep track of your benefits and strategically schedule appointments, so you can maximize your coverage.

How to Maximize Your Benefits

The first step to maximizing your dental insurance coverage is finding out exactly how close you are to your annual cap. You can do this by calling your dental insurance carrier to ask where you currently stand. If you have nearly exhausted all of your annual benefits, it may be best to hold off on unnecessary treatments until your cap resets at the beginning of the year. If you still have benefits available, however, you should take advantage of them by scheduling an exam and cleaning, and/or restorative treatment before the end of the calendar year.

Other Ways to Save

As the end of the year approaches, you may have the opportunity to stagger your dental treatments to pay less money out-of-pocket. Patients often have to pay some out-of-pocket expenses for non-preventative treatments, and sometimes those treatments take more than one visit to complete. By scheduling your appointments strategically, you can leverage your benefits from two calendar years. If completing your treatment plan will use up all of your insurance maximum when done in the same year, talk to your dentist about the possibility of scheduling part of your treatment in November or December and the rest of it in January, after your benefits have reset. Bear in mind this may not be possible for certain treatments, but, if your dentist gives the ok, you could save hundreds of dollars.

Remember that insurance coverage can vary based on whether your treatment is preventative, restorative or elective. Make sure to call your insurance provider and ask questions, so you understand exactly how much annual coverage you will receive for specific types of dental treatments.