Many insurance plans come with key stipulations that shift the cost of dental care onto the patient. Fortunately, the end of the year provides a golden opportunity for patients to shift the cost back onto insurance providers. If you want to get the most value out of your dental benefits, learn why you should schedule a dental appointment before the New Year.
1. The yearly max
The vast majority of dental insurance plans come with an annual maximum coverage cap. Usually, this falls between $1,000 and $1,500 per person, with the coverage amount renewing every year on January first. Since these dollars do not roll over, it makes sense to use them if you can.
If you have an especially costly set of related procedures lined up, it is possible to schedule them to start before – and complete after – January first. This is a smart way to reduce out-of-pocket costs by maximizing your benefits.
If you have payroll contributions in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) on a pre-tax basis, it’s a good idea to use your entire deduction amount for the year. If you don’t, you will be forfeiting any FSA contribute you don’t use by the January first deadline. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can also use the balance to improve your oral health without enduring any tax penalties.
Most dental plans require patients to pay a specific amount of money out-of-pocket before any benefits kick in. If you have already met your deductible requirements, consider scheduling an appointment with your local dentist for any procedure you may have been putting off. After all, once January first rolls around, you will be saddled with a brand new deductible.
If you are paying monthly premiums for dental insurance, you should be cashing in on the benefits. Many people regard dental insurance as a safety net against high costs related to unexpected emergency dental needs. If you don’t have any serious dental concerns, however, you should use your benefits to have routine hygiene cleanings and exams that help detect and prevent cavities, oral cancer, gum disease, grinding, clenching and other dental issues.
6. Fee increases
Whether it’s due to an increasing cost of materials or equipment, practitioners must raise their process from time to time. At the beginning of every year, providers always review their pricing to determine whether fee increases are needed. If you wait until after the New Year, you may end up paying a higher co-pay. With this in mind, it makes sense to schedule your appointment in November or December, before any potential price hikes.
7. Dental problems only get worse
Humans love to procrastinate, especially when faced with the prospect of unpleasant dental work. Unfortunately, because the vast majority of dental issues worsen with time, procrastination tends to lead to more discomfort and higher costs. If you seek treatment 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 without getting much help from your dental insurance provider.