Don’t leave money on the table!
If you have dental insurance, chances are you have an annual maximum benefit. If you have dental work that you’ve been putting off, and you haven’t used your maximum benefit for 2012, call your dentist right away to get in before the end of the year! This money won’t roll over to next year – it will be reset at your annual amount on January 1st whether you use this year’s money or not. And you’ll have to pay your deductible again in January. Putting off your dental care is like leaving money on the table.
How Does Dental Insurance Work?
Dental Insurance is different from general medical insurance, where huge maximums are allowed in case of major medical issues. With most dental insurance plans, the maximum annual benefit is around $1000 to $1500. With your first dental claim each year, you may be required to pay a deductible. After that, your dental treatment will be covered (up to the allowable amount) for the remainder of the year, until you reach your maximum annual benefit.
If you need any restorative work done, such as implants, bridges, or crowns, you can reach your maximum benefit fairly quickly. If you can’t afford to pay for additional treatment yourself, you’ll want to get the most out of your insurance by using up your maximum benefit each year. Once you’ve reached your max, you can schedule your next treatment for January, when it resets.
Does it Matter if My Dentist is “In Network”?
Some insurance plans require that you go to an “in-network” dentist, but many let you choose your own dentist. If you select an “out-of-network” dentist, you will usually be responsible for paying the difference between your dentist’s fees and the amount the insurance company is willing to cover. This small additional cost is often well worth the benefit you get in higher quality care and a long-term relationship with your dentist and staff.
What Services are Covered?
Each dental insurance plan has their own criteria regarding the types of treatment they will reimburse you for, and the percentage of coverage. Your dentist’s staff can help you determine if a recommended treatment will be covered by your insurance. With some employers, you may have different plans to choose from. If you are planning for major treatment, it may be worth comparing the coverage of your different plan options during your open enrollment period. For instance, you may be able to switch to a plan that will partially cover your dental implants, although the percentage of coverage on basic treatment may be reduced. Be sure to review your options thoroughly to see which one is the best choice for your particular situation.