November 25, 2019
With all the stress that comes with the holidays, dental insurance is probably one of the last things you want to worry about. However, if you don’t utilize your benefits before they expire at the end of the year (assuming your policy follows the calendar year), you could end up losing them – and in the long run, that could cost you hundreds of dental dollars. In order to maximize your dental insurance benefits, try following these 4 tips from a cosmetic dentist.
1. Make It a Goal to Meet or Exceed Your Yearly Maximum
Your insurance company will set a cap on the amount that they’ll pay for dental treatment. Any unused money goes back to the insurance company at the end of the year instead of rolling over, meaning you’ll no longer be able to use it. Since the average annual maximum is about $1,000 to $1,500, that’s hundreds of dollars that could be lost instead of helping you protect your smile. You should thus make it your goal to meet or exceed the yearly maximum – doing so means you’ve done everything you can to maintain excellent oral health.
2. Treat Small Problems Early
A toothache or a sensitive tooth might seem like just a slight inconvenience at first, but these symptoms are often the early warning signs of an infection that will only get worse over time; the longer you wait, the more likely you are to need a costly and invasive treatment. Your insurance company will normally provide more coverage for preventive or basic dental procedures (the usual structure is 100% coverage for preventive checkups and cleanings, 80% for fillings and other basic care, and 50% crowns and other major treatments), so put your benefits to use instead of letting a small problem become a larger one.
3. Don’t Wait for the Deductible to Reset
The deductible is a set amount of fees that you have to pay the dentist yourself before your dental benefits kick in. If you’ve already met your deductible for the year, beginning necessary dental treatments now will help lower your out-of-pocket costs. If you don’t get the care you need before the end of the year, there’s a risk that you might have to pay a higher deductible next year.
4. If Nothing Else, Take Advantage of Preventive Care
Dental insurance companies tend to encourage patients to be proactive about their dental care, which is why they often fully cover the cost of two checkups and cleanings each year. Taking advantage of these services is an excellent way to use your benefits, and they can lower the risk that you’ll need additional care later. If you haven’t had two dental checkups this year, now’s a good time to schedule one.
Take the time to talk to your dentist about your dental insurance and what kind of treatments your benefits cover that you could utilize. They can help you review your policy and make decisions to maximize your savings before January 1st.
About the Author
Each year, Dr. Mark Givan completes about 20 to 40 hours of continuing education, which helps him keep up with the latest advancements in dentistry so that he can always provide the best care. His practice is proud to accept a wide variety of dental insurance plans, including United Healthcare and Humana. To schedule an appointment at his Fort Worth practice, visit their website or call (817) 926-5556.
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