Most insurance plans include restrictions that try to shift the cost of dental care back onto you, the insured, as much as possible. However, the end of the plan year, which usually coincides with the calendar year, provides an opportunity for you to get the most out of your insurance providers. If you want to get the most out of your dental benefits, here’s why you should schedule a dental appointment with Dr. John C. Cranham in Chesapeake, VA, before the New Year.
1. The Yearly Max
Most dental insurance plans have an annual maximum coverage cap that resets on the first of the year. Usually, this amount is somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 per person, depending on your plan. Because this amount resets in January, it makes sense to use up to your maximum to get the best value from your insurance if you can.
2. Overlapping Years
If you have a series of costly related dental procedures that you will need, it is possible to schedule them to start before – and complete after – the start of the New Year. This is a good way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs by dipping into the coverage maximums of two benefit years.
Most dental plans require that you pay a specific amount of money out-of-pocket towards your dental services before your benefits start paying. Once you’ve met your deductible, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Cranham or your area dentist for any procedure you may have been putting off. After all, once January 1st rolls around, you’ll be saddled with a brand new deductible to meet.
4. Monthly Premiums
If you are already paying monthly premiums for dental insurance, you should be using those benefits to maintain your dental health. Many people view 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, avoiding the need for those high-cost procedures in the first place.
If your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) that you pay into pre-tax, it’s in your best interest to use up your entire deduction amount for the year. If not, you will be giving up any 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.
6. Fee Increases
Because of the increasing cost of materials or equipment needed, dental offices must raise their fees from time to time. As the New Year begins, providers often review their pricing to determine whether fee increases are necessary. If you wait until after the New Year, you may end up paying a higher co-pay. So it makes sense to schedule your appointment in December, before any potential fee increases.
7. Dental Problems Will 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 the smartest decision. Unfortunately, most dental issues will only get worse if allowed to go untreated. Procrastinating can lead to even more discomfort due to more complicated procedures 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 for your treatment. On the other hand, if you wait, you may have to pay more and your dental insurance provider may not be willing to contribute as much.
To learn more about the insurance and payment options accepted at Dr. Cranham’s office, call us at 757.656.4109.