Dental Insurance: Use It or Lose It

Dental Insurance: Use It or Lose It

Dental Insurance: Use It or Lose It

Dental insurance is a bit of a mystery to many people. Most people know what they can expect to pay as a co-pay for regular dental cleanings, but beyond that, many don’t know what to expect when it comes to insurance coverage or procedure pricing. While each insurer and plan will vary, one thing is relatively universal when it comes to dental insurance: if you don’t use your benefits, you lose them.

Deductible Reset

As with typical health insurance, your dental deductible resets at the start of each new year. Once you max out your out-of-pocket costs for dentistry, everything else (up to a certain amount) should be covered by insurance. So if you’ve already met your deductible for the year, that means that any other procedures or appointments should be covered by your insurance company.

However, if you wait until January to get your dental appointments scheduled and your procedures taken care of, you’ll be starting over with trying to meet your deductible, which means a lot more is coming out of pocket rather than from the insurance company. Take advantage of what you’ve already paid toward your deductible and get those dental fillings, cracked teeth, and root canals scheduled sooner rather than later.

Yearly Maximum

Many dental insurance plans give individuals and families a yearly maximum amount that they can spend on dental visits and procedures. If you have not used this full amount before the year ends, that credit toward services will most likely disappear. Depending on how much money you have left of your yearly maximum, now might be a great time to schedule those more costly procedures or ensure everyone in your family is up-to-date on dental check-ups.

Delaying Treatment = More Cost

Generally speaking, dental issues only get worse over time. If you ignore dental problems or don’t get them fixed in a timely manner, they can cause even bigger problems, increased pain, and more extensive treatments in the future. This not only means discomfort for you, but it also increases your overall expenses when it comes to dental care.

Think of it this way: if you have a cavity now, it may cost $100 to get it filled. But if you don’t get it filled now, it could lead to more extensive damage in your tooth, gums, and root. This could then lead to a possible tooth extraction or root canal, which could cost upwards of $1,000.

As a rule of thumb, delaying dental treatment is never in your best interest, both for your health and your bank account, so it’s best to get things taken care of quickly for better results and lower costs.

Preventative Coverage vs. Restorative Care

As mentioned above, the smaller the problem, the lower the cost. This rings true for preventative measures as well. Most dental insurance covers 100% of preventative care, which includes cleanings, X-Rays, fluoride treatments, and the like.

On the other hand, restorative care and treatments for dental issues will come out of pocket more than they will come from your insurance company. You most likely have the opportunity to get two complete dental cleanings per calendar year at little to no cost to you, so you should absolutely take advantage of them! They lead to better long-term health, while ultimately saving you (a lot more) money in the long run.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you’ve been putting off scheduling that dental appointment, now’s the time! Taking a few minutes today to schedule a dental visit before the year’s end could pay off big time for the future of both your dental health and financial situation.

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage, deductibles, yearly maximums, etc., be sure to contact your insurance provider before your next appointment, so you aren’t surprised with any unexpected fees.