Thanksgiving! Christmas! Decorations! Shopping! Baking! Presents! Family! Friends!
The next couple of months (November and December) are filled with ALL OF THE THINGS. From getting presents for the kids, friends, and family, to deciding how you’re going to celebrate this year, and putting up decorations, donating your time, money, or gifts to charities you believe in, and even deciding who’s making Christmas dinner, there are a lot of things on your plate right now. Which is why it’s so easy to forget about cashing in on your dental insurance or Flex plan dollars before the year is up.
You’re not the only one!
In fact, the National Association of Dental Plans estimates that only 2.8% of people with PPO dental plans reached or exceeded their plan’s annual maximum. That’s a lot of wasted dollars!
The good news is, there is still time to cash in on your benefits and use your flex plan dollars before you ring in the new year. Now is the time to get in and make those appointments with your Idaho Falls dentist so that you don’t let all of that money go to waste. Below, you can find more information about how to get the most out of your dental insurance plan and/or your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars.
How To Get The Most Out of Your Dental Insurance Plan
Most dental insurance policies ‘expire’ on December 31st and renew at the beginning of the year (make sure to check with your insurance provider as the renewal date may be slightly different). Like most insurances, when your dental insurance renews, the deductible reverts back to zero or if your plan covers X amount of dental visits, this also goes back to zero.
Visits or benefits that were not used during that coverage period DO NOT roll over into the next year. This is why it is critical to make sure you get the most out of your dental insurance plan, especially since you’re already paying for it! With this in mind, here are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your insurance before the year is up:
- Start Early. Now, this tip may be after the fact, but it’s a good one to have in your arsenal for next year if you didn’t follow it this year! Start the year off by scheduling appointments for the whole family with your Idaho Falls dentist. This helps in a few different ways. First, it helps you to take advantage of your insurance by meeting deductibles sooner so that you can get your benefits, that much earlier. Second, it will help you and your family dentist outline a plan for treatment over the next year if necessary that is both beneficial for your dental health and your wallet. This way you’ll know what to be ready for instead of being slammed with a huge bill at the beginning of the following year. And third, it will make it that much easier for you to schedule dental appointments around your life instead of the opposite.
- Proactive Prevention Saves Money. Like most things, it’s usually better to take care of a problem before it gets bigger. Not only is it a smarter route to take but it’s also the cheaper one. Additionally, scheduling and keeping your regular appointment with your Idaho Falls family dentist will help your dentist to discover any issues before they happen.
- Knowledge is power. The sooner you start seeing your dentist in the year, the easier it will be to see what is and what isn’t covered by insurance to create a treatment plan (if necessary) that makes sense for you and your family. Your dentist will also make sure that you know what your insurance covers and will work with you to create a payment plan if needed to cover costs of care.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Flex Plan
In addition to getting the most out of your dental insurance plan, we want to make sure that you get the most out of your flex plan dollars as well. Any money that is contributed to your FSA must be used in the same year that the contributions were made.
Basically, if you don’t use it, you will lose it! So if you still have money to ‘burn’, here are some ways to use it before the end of the year is up, as well as make the most out of your flex plan moving forward:
- Plan ahead. Just like with insurance, the earlier you go to the dentist in the year to see if there are potential issues that need to be corrected (cavities, wisdom teeth removal, root canal, etc.), the better. This will help you to know how much money you need to put into your flex account so that you aren’t scrambling at the end of the year to use those funds.
- Talk with your FSA administrator. Discussing what services and products are eligible to be covered by your flex plan dollars will make it easier to know how much money you need to put in this account. Important note: FSA accounts cannot be used for cosmetic dental services. This includes teeth whitening, veneers, and cosmetic braces.
- Know when you need to use the money in your FSA by. Just like insurance, FSA money must be used by the end of the year (December 31st). There are some options that employers may offer if you need additional time to spend what is left in your account. These include:
- A grace period of up to 2.5 months to use the money in your account.
- A maximum amount of $500 to be carried over into the next year.
Check with your employer and FSA admin to make sure that these options are available to you before it’s too late!
If you are unsure if your dental benefits have been used or need to spend the rest of your flex plan dollars before the year is up, there is still time to make an appointment with your family dentist in Idaho Falls at Eagle Rock Dental Care. Please contact us today with any questions you may have regarding your dental insurance or flex dollars and what the best way to use them will be. We are here to help you every step of the way.
Dr. Alan Cooper has over 33 years experience. He graduated from the University of Washington with his General Practice residency at the University Hospital in Salt Lake City. He and his wife Sandy have 6 children and 18 grandchildren. His hobbies include spending time with his family while traveling, skiing and boating.