Dental insurance can be confusing. Each plan is unique and offers slightly different benefits, and you even receive different benefits at different dental offices. One thing is relatively universal among dental insurance benefits: they expire!
Typical dental insurance plans provide a certain dollar amount as a “maximum” of benefits on a yearly basis. Because these yearly benefits usually follow a calendar year, December is an important month!
Benefits Expire at the End of December
With very few exceptions, dental insurance benefits expire on December 31 of each year. (There a few plans that run from August 1 through July 31 or other twelve-month schedules.) What this expiration means for you is that if you do NOT use any dental insurance benefits by the end of the year, you lose them.
Preventive Dental Benefits
For example, let’s say you have an insurance plan that pays 100% of your preventive dental care (which includes exams, x-rays and professional teeth cleanings) with a maximum of $1500. You could see your dentist every six months and not come close to that $1500 maximum. The insurance company pays for your exams, x-rays and cleanings, so your out-of-pocket cost is nothing.
When you do NOT see your dentist in a calendar year, you are missing out on these zero-cost dental visits. Not only are you throwing away free dental care, these visits provide wonderful preventive advantages that reduce your overall risk for costly dental diseases, like cavities and gum disease. This preventive care saves you money on dental treatments in the future.
Benefits for Dental Treatment
What if you need more than just dental check-ups and cleanings? Has it been a while since you’ve been to the dentist? If you do need dental treatment, now is the time to schedule an appointment. Once we diagnose your dental problems and discuss your treatment options, we will work with you to get the most out of your dental insurance benefits before they expire!
Benefits Renew at the First of January
For those needing more than routine dental check-ups, the end of the year is an advantageous time. When you begin dental treatment before the end of the year, it actually allows you to receive double benefits! This is because your insurance plan will renew on January 1.
You can completely max out your benefits this month, and then start all over again at the new year. Our team members are experts at helping each patient receive the highest dollar amount from the dental insurance companies. Let us help you figure out a schedule that will allow you to receive the dental care you need while letting the insurance company pay for the maximum allowable amount.
How to Get the Most out of Your Dental Insurance
There are a few tips we can give you so that you don’t let any of your dental insurance money go to waste.
- Understand your plan.
As we said earlier, most plans run a normal calendar year. However, if you happen to have a rare one that expires on July 31, you need to know that. It is also important for you to know the maximum dollar amount of benefits your plan provides.
Sometimes these things can be difficult to discern, so ask one of our team members to explain your plan’s specific details at your next visit. Knowing your expiration date and your maximum benefits helps you plan for any necessary dental treatment in a way that helps you get the most out of your insurance company.
- Don’t’ make New Year’s Resolutions about dental care. Resolve to start NOW!
We hear people resolving to get back on track with regular dental visits after the first of the year. The problem with that resolution is that it causes you to lose your 2019 dental benefits. Don’t wait until January. Resolve to see your dentist before the end of the year!
- Keep up with consistent exams and cleanings, no matter what.
Take advantage of any preventive dental insurance benefits. This is typically the area of dental work that insurance plans cover at the highest rate, often with 100% coverage. This means it costs the least to you. Don’t let the fact that it costs little to nothing cause you to underestimate its value!
Preventive dental care keeps your teeth and gums healthy and lowers your risk for future dental problems. If you have existing dental problems that you’re not quite ready to treat, the preventive visits actually help slow down the progression of those problems. This can buy you valuable time as you plan for treatment in the future.
You get the most out of your dental insurance when you keep up with consistent check-ups and cleanings. See your dentist every six months for the best preventive care.
More Questions about Dental Insurance?
Call today to speak with one of our insurance experts. We can answer any question you have about your specific plan and schedule an appointment for you before the end of the year!