We hope that dental joke made you smile! Of course, our Exceptional Dentistry team thinks dental jokes are a blast, but what we don’t find funny is when our patients lose their hard-earned cash and preventative dental insurance benefits.
How does this happen? We actually see this happen every year when people don’t completely use up their dental insurance benefits before the year is through.
In spite of dental insurance being a confusing obstacle course for many, we do believe that you should be able to use every last penny of your dental benefits (heck, you already paid for it!).
That’s why we’ll do everything in our power to help you get every benefit allotted to you in your insurance contract.
What we’ve found is that the confusion around dental insurance causes many patients to miss out on utilizing what benefits they do have.
Dr. Powell and our Exceptional Dentistry team believe in positively affecting as many lives as possible by improving people’s overall health. We’re pretty dang passionate about health and making people happy. And part of how we make that vision a reality is by working with you to come up with a custom plan for prevention (steps that save you time and money in the long-term) & restoration (correcting damage that has been done so your teeth look & feel beautiful as well as last).
So we say put your dental insurance to work for you and get more bang for your buck! Because at the end of the day getting the dental treatment you need is the only way to stay healthy and having a little help from the insurance company is just an added bonus.
So here’s the skinny on getting dental insurance benefits to work for you.
Utilizing Dental Insurance Benefits
Many of our patients know that their dental insurance benefits reset at the beginning of each year, but what they often don’t think about is what happens to those unused benefits.
What happens to them? We’re glad you asked. If you don’t use those annual benefits, you’ll lose them. There’s a reason why the term, “use it or lose it” is a saying when it comes to dental insurance!
And by simply using your insurance as a supplement to your out-of-pocket dental health investment you can save upwards of hundreds of dollars, and that’s no joke!
Insurance in general and dental plans, in particular, come with a maximum coverage amount. Your annual maximum is basically the highest amount that your insurance plan will pay for any & all dental work done in a full calendar year.
That includes dental cleanings, dental surgery, root canals, crowns, fillings, periodontal therapy, literally everything (well, everything that they’ll pay towards unlike teeth whitening).
Which is why you can see how dental insurance is designed to be more of an aide rather than a benefit that people can rely on to cover all of their dental needs.
However, you’ve still got roughly $1,000 -$2,000 to utilize towards those necessary dental treatments. So why let that money go to waste?
If you need to have dental restorations done (including fillings, root canals, or crowns) you’re still going to need that treatment next year. And the treatment amount will, of course, take away from those benefits that you’re probably planning to use towards your regular visits with the hygienist.
So it’s a good idea to take care of any treatment needs before the annual maximum starts over even if completing treatment this year will have a “higher patient portion” (such as when you only have a small amount of benefits remaining).
In other words, you pay for your benefits so when you leave them unused you are, in a nutshell, tossing the money out the window and will likely be in a similar position the next year.
Using up all your benefits not only saves you money in the long-run, but you’ll also be ahead of the game when it comes to preventing the problems from worsening and becoming potentially painful and even more costly.
The deductible is the amount that you’ve agreed to pay (in your contract with the insurance) before your insurance company will pay anything. Deductibles can be upwards of $100, and your deductible typically resets at the start of every year.
Meaning that’s another amount that you’ll have to pay out of pocket, in addition to any patient portion. Of course, there are exceptions, sometimes, such as when a deductible isn’t required for your visit with the hygienist.
The good news is, it’s likely that you’ve already paid your deductible this year. So now is the time to get necessary dental work done because you’ve already paid that “additional” amount!
If you’re making monthly payments, you want to be using your benefits! Even if you don’t think you have any dental issues you’ll definitely want to come in for your bi-annual cleanings and checkups, both to use your benefits and to get the most out of your money.
Plus, spotting problems early when they’re least invasively and easily treated (like the early signs of tooth decay, gum disease or even oral cancer) is the wisest and most economical move. Remember, unused premiums won’t be given back to you when the year ends.
It is always possible that with the new year there could be fee increases for dental expenses. This may happen when the cost of living increases and the cost of materials and equipment rises along with it.
Should this happen, your co-pay amount may also rise. Whether you’re talking about medical or dental insurance, you want to stay on top of those rate increases by going to the doctor when you’re still under your current rates and co-pays.
Maximize Insurance Benefits for Prevention
Dr. Powell and the rest of our experienced team always tell our patients how important preventative dental care is.
Our goal is to help you prevent tooth decay and gum disease from taking over your smile. You already know to brush and floss every single day, and why it’s so important that you see us regularly for cleanings and checkups.
Because that is how you keep plaque at bay, and we keep tartar (hardened plaque) off your smile by removing it regularly so it can’t damage precious tooth enamel and gum tissue. Your dental insurance is also part of this preventative plan because it helps you pay for the treatments you need to keep your mouth at optimum health levels.
When you ignore dental problems and avoid treatments, your condition can only get worse. This means that a simple cavity may eventually lead to a root canal and possible dental crown restoration. Any routine checkups and cleanings done now will be less expensive than treating cavities or gum disease down the road.
Ultimately, the most economical way you can care for your teeth and gums is by investing in a good toothbrush, dental floss, routine dental cleanings and checkups, and using your yearly dental insurance benefits!
Use it or Lose it!
Please give our Exceptional Dentistry team in Palmdale, CA a call at (661) 349-7725 or schedule a visit with us to prevent and treat problems early. In the end, spending a little now can save you hundreds later and we can even help you with choosing a plan for next year.
On that note, let’s leave you with a final dental joke:
A little boy was taken to the dentist, who found that he had a cavity that would need to be filled.
“Now, young man,” asked the dentist, “what kind of filling would you like for that tooth?”
“Chocolate, please!” replied the youngster.
Now, this kid knows what’s up!
So be smart, be proactive, and schedule your reservation before December 31st to take advantage of whatever benefits you have remaining this year.