As your dental clinic, it’s our responsibility to help guide you through your oral health care so it is as easy and affordable as possible. As a result, we’re dedicated to helping you make the most of your dental insurance, ensuring you get the care you need and take advantage of every benefit available to you.
Did you know that your dental benefits don’t roll over from year to year? Once you reach the end of the calendar year, your annual dental benefits disappear for good, whether or not you’ve used them.
What do we mean by dental benefits? One of the best examples of a dental insurance benefit is the preventive care services that are usually covered between 80% to 100%, meaning the insurance company pays 80%-100% of the cost of the service. For example, most dental insurance plans give you two teeth cleaning visits each year covered at 100%, meaning you pay nothing out-of-pocket for your dental hygiene visit. Most insurance plans also fully cover at least one set of full mouth x-rays each year.
However, if you’ve visited the dentist for one tooth cleaning this year, that doesn’t mean you get three teeth cleanings next year! Instead, that free cleaning that you skipped goes away at the end of the year and you never get it back!
Another example of your insurance benefits is your annual maximum, meaning the maximum amount that your dental insurance company will pay toward your dental care each year. Annual maximums vary greatly but say your plan’s maximum is $2,500. If you’ve only used $500 of that $2,500 by the end of the year, the remaining $2,000 disappears and you never get to use it. Essentially, you’re leaving money on the table!
So what should you do if the year is almost up and you still have some of your annual maximum left? Well, this is why the end of the year is a great time to start recommended treatment. First of all, if you haven’t had both your teeth cleanings this year, call us as soon as possible to schedule your second cleaning before the end of the year!
As another example, imagine we told you that you need a crown on one of your molars but you haven’t actually completed the treatment yet. If you continue to put off getting the crown until the beginning of next year, you’ll be throwing away your remaining annual maximum for this year and using up next year’s benefits early instead. That means if you need any other treatment during the course of next year, you will have already used up your annual maximum and will have to pay out-of-pocket for it. Using up this year’s insurance maximum could actually save you money next year by ensuring you don’t hit your maximum too early!
So if you have dental treatment recommendations from us that you haven’t completed yet, give us a call as soon as possible so we can schedule your visit before the end-of-year rush. We’d be happy to help you check to see if you’ve hit your annual maximum yet and help you make the most of the money you have remaining on your insurance plan.
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