As the end of the year starts to get closer, there’s more than just the holidays you’ll want to start planning for. It’s a great time to go ahead and use your remaining dental benefits for the year before they run out for good.
Why Do I Need to Use the Benefits by the End of the Year?
Dental insurance benefits and allowances run from the beginning to the end of a 12-month period. For most plans, that’s from January 1st to December 31st. Any coverage has to be spent during that timeframe and then it automatically expires at the end of the 12 months. No unused amounts can roll over to stack onto the next year’s benefits. So, if you still have $1,500 in coverage or an unused dental cleaning benefit, you can’t push those into the next year and enjoy additional coverage. Anything you don’t use, you lose.
Should I Use or Lose My Dental Benefits?
The purpose of dental insurance is primarily preventative in nature. Your preventative cleanings and exams are usually covered at 100%, meaning you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket when you plan your checkup. It practically pays for itself, because these visits help you to lower your risk of gum disease and tooth decay, both of which will require out-of-pocket fees to treat.
If you have uncompleted treatment—let’s say a filling or crown—and you’re already fairly close to having your deductible covered, it can save you quite a bit of money by scheduling your procedure before December 31st. That way you’re not re-paying your deductible again by delaying it another few weeks.
This strategy can also work out in your favor if you have several treatments that exceed your annual allowable (the amount your insurance pays up to each year.) How? By scheduling the first stage of treatments before the end of the year, using your coverage, then planning the next phase of treatment after your benefits reset, you can limit your total out-of-pocket dental costs. All without having to significantly delay any of your medically necessary treatment.
When Should I Schedule an Appointment to Use My Remaining Benefits?
Right now. End-of-the-year dental appointments tend to fill up quickly. Especially once people start to realize their dental insurance benefits are about to run out for the year. Fortunately, our dentist in Vista still has several times available, so there’s still an opportunity to schedule your next checkup or planned treatment procedure. The key is to contact us quickly before those limited appointments begin to run out.
Most dental insurance plans include a $1,000-1,500 allowable amount each year. This is the total that the policy will cover for dental procedures, outside of routine preventative visits. But if you need treatment and don’t use your allowable, that money simply goes away. You can’t get it back.
Waiting Costs You More Than Money
Delaying treatment for active dental disease doesn’t just impact your dental insurance benefits. It can also cost you your smile. As time goes by, dental infections will continue to spread deeper into your teeth, gums, and supporting bone tissue. Not only is it more affordable to treat them early, but it’s also less invasive to your smile. Earlier treatments help maximize the amount of healthy tooth structure you can save. It’s a win-win for both your teeth and your wallet.
Call Our Dentist in Vista Today
The team at Ivory Pointe Dentistry will help you make the most of your dental insurance coverage and limit any out-of-pocket costs. If you need treatment, we’ll review your remaining benefits for the year and help you tabulate the most affordable method to restore your smile. That could mean scheduling you ASAP or splitting procedures between now and after January 1st.
Contact our dentist in Vista today to request your next appointment.