We are almost at the end of a historical year marked by the looming presence of a virus over the world. But we’ve survived so far, finding our new normal amidst the transition. In the frenzy of home cleaning, holiday shopping, and catching up on the work deadlines, many people might miss out on one crucial aspect of our self-care: dental checkup.
Most employer-provided dental insurances tend to run out on December 31. Assuming your dental health insurance, whether it is employer-provided or purchased through health insurance marketplaces, is based on the calendar year, the end of the year is a great time to visit your dentist for a checkup. Many people don’t realize how much money they could save if they availed of their dental insurance plan’s benefits with an end-of-the-year dental checkup. The year-end brings the golden opportunity for patients to put the onus back on the insurance providers to pay for their treatment.
In this article, we discuss the top tips for maximizing returns from your plan and why you should schedule your end of the year dental procedures if you haven’t already done so.
Maximize Benefits From Your Dental Insurance Plan
According to the American Dental Association, start thinking about ways to maximize your dental plan early on. Most people have this myth that dental insurance plans are reserved for any emergency or serious dental problems that may crop up. Don’t fall into this trap and check with your provider for the benefits and coverage on preventive dental and restorative care.
Some insurance providers offer 100% coverage on preventive dental services, making them free or adequate coverage and making it affordable for patients. You can use the plan for dental x-rays and exams to catch any signs of other dental issues, regular teeth cleaning, and fluoride treatments. Why procrastinate and wait for a minor dental problem to escalate into a serious dental concern, which is extensive and costlier in the long run?
Here are the top five benefits of scheduling a year end dental checkup in Palo Alto:
- Yearly Maximum
The yearly maximum is the maximal money that insurance providers will pay for your dental treatment in a year. The average yearly maximum varies as per the dental insurance plan. If the individual does not use this before the end of the calendar year towards dental treatment, the benefits or the dollars do not roll over to the next year. The yearly maximum renews on January 1, and if you have any unused benefits, now is the time to make the most value of it and schedule an end of the year dental appointment.
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA) & Health Savings Account (HSA)
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-deductible health care account that you can contribute money toward to pay for your out-of-pocket health-care expenses, including dental expenses. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and payroll contributions on a pre-tax basis, it’s a wise move to use the amount toward your oral health, or you will lose it by 1 January of the next year. Similar to a FSA, a Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-deductible plan open for those individuals with a high-deductible health insurance plan. Unlike an FSA, HSA savings are allowed to roll over from year-to-year. However, rather than using your savings on non-qualified expenses that could cost you tax penalties, consider using the balance towards your dental treatments.
The deductible is the monetary amount a patient must pay out of pocket before the insurance provider can pay for dental care services and treatment. Say your dental insurance has a $500 deductible. That means, your insurance provider will start paying for your dental care only after you’ve paid the $500 deductible out of pocket. If you have already paid your deductible, the year-end is your last chance to utilize all the benefits as they do not roll over to the next year.
Premiums are the amount a person pays to the insurance company every month, depending on the plan. If you are paying monthly premiums to your dental insurance provider, you should be inspecting the benefits offered and getting the maximum value out of it. Plan and schedule your dental procedures before the end of the year so your premiums are not wasted.
- Fee Hikes
It’s not uncommon for family dentists in Palo Alto to hike their fees due to increased cost of living, equipment, rent, and miscellaneous expenses. A fee increase can make copays and out-of-pocket expenses higher the next year. Scheduling an end of the year dental checkup saves you from a potential hike in fee and copay costs.
If you are considering major dental procedures, including orthodontic treatments or surgical procedures, such as braces, gum contouring, and dental implants, that may not be covered by a basic dental insurance plan, talk to our friendly staff at Cambridge Dental Studio where we offer flexible payment plans for patients with 0% interest rate. We also routinely work with insurance companies so you can get the most out of your plan. If you’re a Stanford student, talk to us to see how we can help finance your dental procedures and minimize your out-of-pocket expense!
We hope this article was beneficial to you and lend some light on how you can make the most of your dental insurance plan before the year comes to a close. Our Palo Alto dentists and team are well-aware of your insurance plan and will be happy to guide you in maximizing the benefits.
Our appointment calendar is filling in fast; so don’t wait for too long to schedule your end of the year dental checkup and use your 2020 dental benefits.
Disclaimer: We routinely draw upon public health resources to inform our write-ups. Information in this article may be drawn up from multiple public health sources, including:
American Dental Association’s MouthHealthy.org
California Dental Association
American Dental Association’s Action for Dental Health
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention