Many insurance plans include stipulations that try to shift the cost of dental care back onto you. However, the end of the year provides an opportunity for you to get the most out of your insurance providers. If you want the best value out of your dental benefits, here’s why you should schedule a dental appointment with Dr. J. Stephen Hoard in New Bern, NC before the New Year.
1. The Yearly Max
Most dental insurance plans dictate an annual maximum coverage cap. Usually, this amount is somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 per person, with the amount covered renewing every year on the first of the year. Because this amount resets in January, it makes sense to use up to your maximum if you can.
2. 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.
3. Overlapping Years
If you have a series of costly related dental procedures in your future, it is possible to schedule them to start before – and complete after – the start of the New Year. This is a smart way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs by dipping into the coverage maximums of two benefit years.
Most dental plans will not begin paying for your services until you have paid out a specific amount of money out-of-pocket — called a deductible — towards them first. Once you’ve met your deductible, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Hoard for any procedure you may have been putting off. After all, once January first rolls around, you’ll be stuck with a brand new deductible.
If your pay into a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) offered by your employer on a pre-tax basis, it’s in your best interest to use up your entire deduction amount for the year. If not, you will be forfeiting any accumulated 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 improve 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 November or December, before any potential fee increases.
7. Dental Problems Will Get Worse
While it’s common to put off things we don’t want to do, especially dental work that might be uncomfortable, it is not always the best course of action. Unfortunately, the vast majority of dental problems will only get worse with time. Procrastination often lead to more discomfort and higher costs when you eventually do seek treatment.
If you go now, before the end of the year, you are likely to pay less out-of-pocket for your dental procedures. On the other hand, if you wait, you may have to pay more and your dental insurance provider may not cover as much of the cost. To learn more about the insurance and payment options we accept at our New Bern office, call (252) 507-0373.