When it comes to using their dental benefits, millions of people leave money provided by their insurer unspent. Only 2.8 percent of people enrolled in a PPO dental plan reach or exceed their plan’s annual maximum benefits each year, according to the National Association of Dental Plans. Many people enrolled in Flexible Spending Accounts – which help to pay for medical and dental care with pre-tax dollars – don’t take full advantage of the care they have available.
Whether you’re paying for dental care through a FSA or a benefits plan provided by your employer, you may only have until December 31st to take advantage of any unspent benefits. At our east Portland dental office, we don’t want to see our patients waste their hard-earned dental benefits. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider about when and how to make the most out of your dental benefits this year.
Dental Plan Benefits
- For most insurance plans, your benefits run on a yearly calendar that starts January 1st and ends December 31st. This means that any benefits you’re still holding onto won’t roll over to the next calendar year. However, some plans do have different start and stop dates to their yearly benefits calendar. It’s important to check your plan’s documents or ask your HR department so you know the exact dates.
- Prevention is always better than treatment for both you and your wallet. Most dental plans cover 100 percent for preventative checkups and cleanings, so if you haven’t scheduled an exam yet this year, time is running out.
- Consider using your coverage as early in the year as possible. With kids heading back to school and with the holidays approaching, our appointment times at East Portland Dentistry fill up quickly this time of year.
- Understand your dental needs so you can better plan on how to use your benefits. Talk to Dr. Arend about what your dental needs are and what types of treatments you might need before the end of the year.
- Once you’ve determined the type of dental care you require, let our east Portland dental office and your benefits provider to figure out what types of treatments are covered under your plan. In most cases, our friendly front office staff will be able to help you determine what type of care your plan can provide.
Flexible Spending Accounts
A Flexible Spending Account is a dental health plan you can set up with your employer. During an open enrollment period, you choose how much money you’d like to put aside from your paycheck. It’s placed into this account, which is then deducted automatically pre-tax. Most FSAs cover treatments and services designed to protect your oral health, such as braces, cleanings, dentures, and more.
Most FSAs work like a debit card, allowing you to pay for different treatments out of the money you’ve placed into the plan.
Just as with most employer-provided health care plans, FSA funds also need to be spent by December 31st. However, your employer may offer different options that could allow you to extend the time you have to use your benefits. Carefully read over your FSA or ask your HR department to find out exactly when your benefits will expire.
To make the most out of a FSA plan, you need to:
- Plan carefully so you don’t put more money into your account than necessary. Wasting dental benefits is one thing; overpaying for the benefits you do not use is another matter entirely.
- As with a dental benefits plan, talk with Dr. Arend about what kind of treatment you require so you know how much you need to save. You may be able to use your FSA to pay for these treatments or use your FSA to pay any co-insurance or co-pays associated with the care.
- Make your dental appointments as soon as possible to ensure your FSA dollars can be used before they expire.
Contact East Portland Dentistry
Your oral health matters. By failing to take full advantage of your dental care benefits, you’re increasing the risk that dental decay or disease could cause lasting damage to the health of your teeth and gums. Contact our office today to see what dental benefits you still have available and what type of treatments Dr. Arend can provide to help you start 2018 with a great-looking smile.