Beat the End of Year Rush and Don’t Let Your Benefits Go to Waste
Get in early! Schedule your appointments now before the schedule fills up!
Each year, millions of dollars are wasted by not maxing out your dental benefits or using up the money set aside in your FSA. Most dental insurance companies reset their “benefit year” starting on January 1st. This means you have until the end of December to get in any last-minute dental work.
The National Association of Dental Plans estimates only 2.8% of patients with PPO dental plans maxed out their dental coverage. Depending on your plan’s limits and coverage levels, you could be wasting thousands of dollars. Furthermore, if your plan has a deductible and you’ve already met it for 2019, it makes sense to get all the treatment you can before your benefit cycle renews.
Look at it this way: If your dental coverage is part of a benefits package paid for by your employer, it’s like throwing away part of your paycheck! Likewise, if you are paying out of pocket for your dental coverage but only going in for cleanings instead of getting the treatment you need, you’re not recouping much of the money you spend on your annual premium. For example, if your $600 annual premium buys $1,500 worth of coverage and you aren’t using it up, you’re effectively throwing away $900 of “free” money.
If you contribute to an FSA, there’s even more money that could be used to offset your out-of-pocket costs. Suppose your dental insurance covers a root canal at 80%, you could use your FSA to pay for the remaining 20% and not incur any out-of-pocket expense.
Don’t wait until mid-December to schedule an appointment. By planning ahead and scheduling early, you can be on the books before the end-of-year rush. A quick call to your dentist’s office will let you know if you have any outstanding treatment or if you are overdue for a cleaning or exam.
Scheduling sooner rather than later could also save your pocketbook before any fee increases take place in the new year. Dental offices have some of the highest overhead expenses of any industry, and most of them happen behind the scenes. Liability insurance, the cost of state-of-the-art equipment to enhance the patient experience, training for that equipment, and single-use items like gloves and sterilization pouches continue to increase. Many offices are forced to raise their fees simply to keep up with the rising cost of doing business.
Splitting treatment between two years can also help you get the treatment you need. Many root-canaled teeth require a crown to preserve what’s left of the tooth, but this can max out your dental benefits quickly. Some offices will let you schedule your root canal in December and the permanent crown in January. This repairs your tooth before there is any further damage, reduces your out-of-pocket cost, and uses up any remaining benefits.
By scheduling your appointments now, you can catch up on any outstanding treatment and maximize your 2019 dental benefits. You can start 2020 with a fresh, healthy smile!