At McGinty Dental Group, Littleton family dentist Dr. Eileen McGinty and the rest of our staff hope that all of our patients enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season.
Of course, the end of the calendar year means more than just pumpkin pie, mistletoe and the rooftop tapping of Santa’s reindeer. The calendar’s change from 2015 to 2016 also means the end of the year for most dental health plans, as well. Since your yearly benefits reset at the beginning of the year, it’s important that you understand what insurance benefits you’ve yet to use before they disappear for good.
Depending on your individual dental health plan, the list of benefits you have access to can range from a free cleaning to cosmetic treatments like crowns, implants and orthodontic care. Ignoring what benefits are set to expire can mean falling short on health insurance coverage for 2016 if the care you could receive under this year’s benefits need to be combined with future oral health needs that cause you to exhaust your benefits early.
So that you have a better understanding of what your coverage plan may entitle you to, here are a few tips on how maximize your dental coverage before the end of the year.
Use It Or Lose It
A lot of patients don’t fully understand that they have a yearly maximum when it comes to how much dental care their insurance will cover on an annual basis. Your plan’s yearly maximum is typically a pre-defined dental benefit that’s outlined in the fine print of your dental insurance coverage. While this amount can vary, the yearly maximum averages around $1,000 per person. Whatever your coverage amount, it will usually reset at the beginning of the year.
For example, if you’ve received two dental cleanings this year that cost $200 each (totaling $400 for the year), you still have access to $600 worth of dental care in unused benefits that will likely not rollover to 2016. So if you have a lose filling, chipped tooth or need a tooth replaced, now is the time to schedule an appointment or risk losing access to the rest of your yearly benefits for good.
Get What You Pay For
It’s easy to think of health insurance as something to only use in case of an emergency or when an illness strikes. However, health insurance is like any other subscription based service you pay for. By paying your insurance premiums every month, you have the right to use your benefits and receive the care it pays for. Even if you don’t suffer from any serious oral health problems, you should still use your benefits to schedule regular dental cleanings to reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and schedule checkups with Littleton family dentist Dr. Eileen McGinty so she can spot any early signs of oral cancer or any other type of oral health problem.
Postponing Treatment Could Cost You More Out-of-Pocket
Most dental plans have a deductible dollar amount that must be paid out of pocket before your insurance company will cover the remaining cost of treatment. If you’ve undergone dental treatments that go beyond a routine exam or cleaning, odds are you’ve already contributed some amount of money to your yearly deductible.
Just like your yearly benefit amount, the money you’ve paid into your deductible resets at the beginning of the year. If you’ve been putting off recommended treatments like a root canal, wisdom tooth extraction or implant placement, you should seriously consider scheduling those treatments before your deductible resets, otherwise you’ll be stuck paying more out-of-pocket when you do finally receive whatever treatment you need in 2016.