As the end of the year approaches, the last thing on your mind is a visit to the dentist. However, you should reconsider if you’ve been paying monthly premiums all year. Most insurance plans operate on a calendar versus a fiscal year. This means that your benefits start over on January 1st and the benefits from the past year don’t roll over. Following are some compelling reasons to pick up the phone and make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
- Deductible- A deductible is the amount of money you will pay out of pocket before your insurance takes over and begins paying for services. The average deductible for most insurances is $50 per year. This amount can be higher if you visit a dentist that is out of network. Also, if you’ve already paid your deductible for the year, it may be worth your while to have additional treatment because your deductible will renew after the first of the year.
- Yearly Maximum- A yearly maximum is the maximum amount of money your plan will cover within the calendar year. The average amount is $1,000-1,500 per person/year. If these benefits go unused, they simply go away on January 1st.
- Premiums- If you are having money taken out of your hard-earned paycheck each month for dental insurance, you should take advantage of the services for which you’re paying. Even if you aren’t in need of fillings or crowns, the American Dental Association recommends visiting the dentist at least twice per year for prophylaxis (cleaning) and examination.
- Fee Increases- Many employers change insurance carriers from year to year, and many dentists increase fees at the first of the year. By not using your current benefits, you run the risk of paying higher copays and higher fees from the dentist.
- Exacerbation of a simple fix- Delaying treatment can certainly turn a simple fix into a much more involved procedure. Fillings can turn into root canals and crowns, and gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. Treating problem areas sooner rather than later is a very good idea.
So, call your dentist today to make an appointment and have any outstanding treatment completed if it makes sense. Calling earlier in December is best to guarantee you’re in great shape and treatment is completed before the clock strikes twelve on Dec 31st.