Many insurance plans include stipulations that try to shift the cost of dental care back onto you. However, the end of the year provides an opportunity for you to get the most out of your insurance providers. If you want the best value out of your dental benefits, here’s why you should schedule a dental appointment with Drs. Alla Brown and Amanda Newberry at Lanier Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Buford, GA before the New Year.
1. The Yearly Max
Nearly all dental insurance plans include a cap for annual maximum coverage. Usually, this amount is somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 per person, and resets every year on the first of the following year. Because this amount resets in January, it is sensible to use up to your maximum if you can.
2. Overlapping Years
If you have multiple costly related dental procedures lined up, it is possible to schedule them to start before – and complete after – the start of the New Year. This is a clever way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs by dipping into the maximums of two benefit years.
3. Fee Increases
Because of the increasing cost of materials and equipment needed to operate, dental practices must unfortunately raise their fees from time to time. As the New Year begins, providers usually reconsider their pricing to determine whether fee increases are required in the coming year. If you wait until after the New Year, you may end up paying more for services than you would this year. So it is a good idea to schedule your appointment in December, before any potential fee increases.
If your pay into a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) offered by your employer on a pre-tax basis, it’s in your best interest to use up your entire deduction amount for the year. If not, you will be forfeiting any accumulated FSA contributions you don’t use by the end of year deadline. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can also use the balance to benefit your oral health without incurring any tax penalties.
5. Monthly Premiums
If you are paying monthly premiums for dental insurance, you should be using those benefits to maintain your dental health. Many people regard dental insurance as a kind of safety net against paying high costs for unexpected emergency dental procedures. If you don’t currently have any serious dental concerns, however, you should use your benefits to have routine services such as cleanings to detect minor issues before they become serious, preventing the need for those high-cost procedures in the first place.
Most dental plans require you to pay a certain amount of money out-of-pocket — a deductible — before your benefits start paying. Once you’ve met your deductible, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Brown or Dr. Newberry for any procedure you may have been putting off. After all, once January 1st rolls around, you’ll have to meet that deductible all over again and it may be higher.
7. Dental Problems Will Only Get Worse
While it’s not uncommon to put off things we don’t want to do — especially dental work that might be uncomfortable — it’s not always a wise decision. Unfortunately, the vast majority of dental issues will only get worse with time if allowed to go untreated. Procrastination can lead to more discomfort and higher costs when you finally do seek treatment.
If you go now, before the end of the year, you are likely to pay less out-of-pocket for your treatment. On the other hand, if you wait, you might end up paying more and your dental insurance provider may not be willing to contribute as much. To learn more about the insurance and payment options we accept at Lanier Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, call our offices at (678) 359-4707.