Given how important it is to get regular oral care from a family dentist near Chicago, it’s surprising that millions of Americans fail to utilize their full dental plan benefits over a calendar year. This serves the old axiom, “leaving money on the table” – something Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center can help you avoid.
The Typical Dental Benefit Plan
There are two ways for an individual to secure dental coverage. One is a group plan through his employer, and the other is via an individual plan procured through the health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. In both cases, upfront dollars (aka, a “premium”) are paid into the insurance plan – but if you don’t follow up and see your dentist before year’s end, this money is wasted.
Most insurers use a December 31 deadline, so we’ll keep that as our baseline for this blog. However, it’s wise to confirm the date with your provider. Either way, end of the year dental benefits you don’t use are not rolled over into the New Year, and so it’s vital that you develop a strategy that doesn’t result in you holding the bag. Here are a couple of ways to avoid this dilemma.
Start Planning Early In The Year
Make an appointment for a dental checkup early in the year so you can talk with your dentist about your needs, and what sort of treatment you might require before year’s end. At minimum, you should get a checkup every six months – more if your spouse and kids are on your dental plan. Also, when you have a sense of what’s needed and when, you can book your appointments far enough out that they don’t get delayed because of the holidays.
Confirm What’s Covered
Once you’ve confirmed your yearly dental needs, talk with your dentist and your benefits provider so you have a clear idea of what’s covered by your plan. Most dentist’s offices will research this for you – but if you’d like, you can visit your provider’s website or call their 800 number for detailed information. The overall goal is of course to avoid booking appointments for procedures that aren’t covered by your benefits.
A Word On Flexible Spending Accounts
A flexible spending account (FSA) is set up through your employer. As the name implies, you decide what amount of money to put into an FSA. This dental insurance is tax deductible, in the sense that with each paycheck, a portion of your chosen amount is deducted pre-tax. An FSA functions similar to a debit card, and is used not only to pay for dental services like cleanings and dentures, but also oral products sold at a drugstore.
An FSA gives you more control over your spending and budgeting, but you need to avoid putting too much money in. You also must regularly check your balance, especially towards the end of the year, so you can distribute the remaining money towards services/products you need.
Count On Us For Benefit Support and More
Whether you’re a patient at our dental office in Chicago or our location in Deerfield, trust our experienced team to deliver exceptional dental care and support. With the New Year less than two months away, let’s talk today about your dental benefits and how best to allocate your funds.