Your Dental Benefits: Use Them or Lose Them
This year is quickly coming to a close. Have you had a chance to review the remaining benefits available on your dental insurance plan for 2017? Most insurance plans have an annual maximum benefit available. If you do not use this maximum amount, the remaining balance is lost at the end of the year. It does NOT roll over to the next year.
Call Oakton Family Dentistry today to let our staff help you figure out what you have left and how to make it work for you!
When it comes to dental benefit plans, millions of people start the New Year leaving money on the table. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, only 2.8% of people with PPO dental plan participants reached or exceeded their plans annual maximum. Many people also have Flexible Spending Accounts, which help pay for dental and medical care with pre-tax dollars.
Whether you’re paying for dental care through a benefits plan or using an FSA, your current plans will most likely run out on December 31.
When You Need to Use Them By
Many insurance companies have a benefit deadline of December 31, this means that any of your unused benefits will be unavailable after the first of the year. Still, some plans may end at different times of the year, so check your plan document or ask your employer to be sure.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Plan
The key is to take advantage of any benefits before they expire for the year.
- Prevention is better than cure both for your health as well as your pocketbook. Most plans typically pay 100% for preventive visits, so if you have not had one yet, this may be a good time to schedule one.
- Start thinking about using your coverage earlier in the year. During a dental appointment over the summer or in the fall, talk to your dentist about what your dental needs are and what treatment you might need before the end of the year. (For example, a back-to-school appointment is a great time to bring this up.) This will allow you to take care of treatment before the holidays.
- Once you’ve determined what your dental needs are, work with your dentist and benefits provider to figure out what is covered. Call the 800 telephone number on the back of your identification card, or check out your insurance company’s website for information. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the insurance coordinator at Oakton Family Dentistry as well, we will help you get the maximum benefits from your plan.
Flexible Spending Accounts
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an account you can set up through your employer. During open enrollment, you choose how much money to put into this account, and a portion of this amount is deducted from each paycheck pre-tax. FSAs generally cover services or products that help keep your mouth healthy, including cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments, benefit plan co-pays, dentures and more.
Many FSAs work like debit cards, and you can use that card to pay for various medical and dental expenses, including some products available at your local drugstore.
When You Need to Use Them By
Usually, you must use the money in an FSA within the plan year by December 31. However, your employer may offer one of two options that give you a little more time to spend what’s in your account:
- Some provide a grace period of up to 2½ extra months to use the money in your FSA.
- Others may allow you to carry over up to $500 per year to use in the following year.
Whether it’s at the end of the year or a grace period, you lose any money you haven’t spent. Check with your employer or FSA administrator to see what your plan allows.