Many Northern Virginians enjoy benefits packages that include coverage for dental care. Have you thought about what you might do to ensure you take full advantage of those benefits?
You may have a traditional benefits package that covers at least some of the costs of routine dental care, and in some cases provides coverage for more specialized services. You may also contribute to a Section 125 Flexible Spending Account, setting aside pre-tax funds to cover the out-of-pocket costs related to those services.
As we tell our patients, your mouth is your gateway to your health, your confidence, and your overall quality of life. It’s important to schedule checkups and cleanings, and to have any dental problems addressed promptly in order to avoid pain or tooth loss. A dental plan can be helpful when investing in these necessary services.
Many of us, however, fail to take full advantage of our dental and flex spending benefits -- allowing hundreds of dollars to go lost and unused at the end of the benefit year.
Whether you avoid the dentist due to anxiety or simply lose track of time, it is important to realize that putting off dental examinations or delaying treatment can result in potentially costly consequences. By taking advantage of your diagnostic and preventive plan coverage (usually covered 2 times a year), you are able to treat cavities or gum disease in their early stages when treatment is less invasive and less costly. Futhermore, by maximizing your dental coverage in the current year, you have additional insurance funds available for the next year in case of emergency.
Good oral hygiene, bi-annual dental checkups, and professional removal of buildup and bacteria (“cleanings”), are the cornerstones of maintaining oral health. Most dental insurance plans will cover for a visit to your hygienist twice in a calendar year*. If you time things right, you can ensure that you maximize your preventive benefits by scheduling your first hygiene visit before June 30 so you can take advantage of another before December 31 when most plans reset. This also allows plenty of time for you to comfortably plan for dental work and not feel pressured into fit everything in at the end of the year.
The bottom line is this: These benefits are part of your total compensation package. You’ve earned them and you should take full advantage of them. Because, at the risk of repeating myself, your mouth is the gateway to your health and happiness!
Things to Remember About Dental Plans:
- Dental benefits and flex spending contributions are “use it, or lose it” dollar.
- Every Insurance Plan is different and you (the subscriber) are responsible for understanding coverage and limitation details.
- Some plans allow 2 Hygiene Visits within a calendar year, while others require 6 months and a day between visits – check your plan details so you can schedule appropriately.
- Not all plans renew at the end of December. Some plans end in July or October – your HR department can help you determine when your specific plan renews.
- Our team at Joanna Claustro, DMD is here to help you better understand some of the ins and outs of dental insurance. Give us a call at 703.406.8600.
4 Smart Year-End Strategies for Maximizing Your Health Benefits - Money Magazine
Cashing In On Health Plans By Year End - Wall Street Journal