Year End Dental Insurance Benefits
As we head into the month of October, many things are uppermost in our minds: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, insurance benefits, flexible spending plans… OK, maybe insurance benefits and flexible spending plans are not on the list, but they should be. We all work hard for our money, and these days we work just as hard to obtain and keep good benefits. This is why we need to be sure to get the maximum use of the benefits we have. Both insurance and flexible spending plans are designed by your employer to help you maximize your healthcare dollars, but both need careful monitoring on your part because of their “use it or lose it” nature.
The majority of dental insurance plans work on a yearly maximum basis. Assuming you have a $1,000 yearly maximum, if you’ve had only cleanings and x-rays done this calendar year you still have hundreds of dollars of “money in the bank” until the end of the year. While you will get a new $1,000 to use starting Jan. 1, you will never be able to retroactively use the benefits you let escape this year, and you will most likely also have a new deductible to meet. This “money in the bank” concept applies in an even bigger way to your flexible spending plans. In these plans, you set aside your own money (in pre-tax dollars) to use for medical and dental co-pays. Again, as I’m sure you know, these pre-tax dollars go back to your employer if you don’t use them. This is why we strongly encourage patients to complete any overdue dental work before the end of the year.
Unlike dental coverage, orthodontic benefits do not renew every calendar year. It is usually a “once in a life time” benefit. In these uncertain times, we never have a guarantee that this year’s benefits will remain unchanged next year and that is why we recommend taking advantage of your orthodontic coverage as soon as possible. We want caring for your dental health to be as painless as possible in all ways, including financially. We look forward to hearing from you very soon so we can get you ready to enter 2015 with great smiles and excellent dental health.
Dr. Reza Salmassian is a Diplomate of The American Board of Orthodontics. For any questions regarding this article or to schedule your complimentary orthodontic evaluation, please contact Dr. Salmassian’s office at Tel: 661-222-7444
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