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Use it or lose it: Dental Benefits

The holiday season is quickly arriving and your calendar will soon be full with festivities and obligations. We want to take this opportunity to remind you to schedule your dental appointments to complete treatment or preventive hygiene appointments before the year ends and any unused insurance benefits are lost. 

Whether you are paying for dental care through a benefits plan or using an FSA, your current plan will most likely run out on December 31st don’t let your hard-earned dental dollars go to waste! 

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, only 2.8% of people with PPO dental plan participants reached or exceeded their plans annual maximum. Many Insurance companies have a deadline of December 31st, which means that any unused benefits do not roll over into the next year. Although, some plans may end at different times of the year, so make sure to check your plan document or ask your employer to make sure!


Many people receive dental benefits through their employers, though individual plans are also available. Remember, when you buy an insurance plan you and your employer are paying some premium upfront dollars that are wasted if you don’t see your dentist.

Make the most of your plan by taking advantage of any benefits before they expire for the year! Start thinking about using your coverage early, talk to your dentist about what your dental needs are and what treatment you might need before the end of the year. Remember, prevention is a better cure for your health and pocketbook. Most plans typically pay 100% for preventive visits, if you have not had one this may be the right time to schedule one. Once you’ve determined what your dental needs are work with your dentist and benefits provider to figure out what is covered and what costs are involved, if any. 

If you are unsure what your benefits are you can call the 800 number listed on your identification card, you can also get information on their website. Did you know that insurance companies make millions of dollars off patients who forego necessary and preventive dental care? Many individuals simply do not schedule the necessary dental treatment that they have insurance to cover. Once your deductible has been met, your out of pocket expenses can decrease dramatically, making it an ideal situation for larger dental treatments. You could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year. Another reason to use your dental care benefits before the end of the year is possible coverage changes. Insurances often make changes to the benefits they provide, which often includes changes in procedures and co-pays. 

Many dental insurances provide little to no coverage until you spend a certain amount out of your own pocket this is your annual deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. If you’ve used your dental insurance at all this year, you’ve probably made some progress toward meeting that deductible. In fact, you may have already met it completely.

Most FSA contributions also operate on the use it or lose it system. If you have funds set aside in a flexible spending account (FSA) or healthcare savings account (HSA) now is the time to schedule treatment so your co-pay amounts can be applied to this year’s deductions. A flexible spending account is an account you can set up through your employer. FSA’s generally cover services or products that help keep your mouth healthy, including cleanings, braces needed for health reasons, benefit plan co-pays, dentures and more. Many FSA’s work like debit cards and you can use that card to pay for various medical and dental expenses, including some products available at your local drugstore.


Now is the time to get any treatments done that you may have been holding off on. Call to schedule an appointment for yourself and your family members as soon as possible. This will improve your chances of securing an appointment that is most convenient to you, during this holiday season. Remember the gift of good oral health and a beautiful smile is priceless!

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