If, like the majority of dental insurance plans, yours is on a calendar year, better get cracking. You have just a few days left to max out your benefits. Anything you’ve left on the table will disappear on January 1. Your annual deductible will also reset and you start all over. Yes, you have a lot to do before now and the year’s end, but throwing money away is NOT on anybody’s to-do list. So here’s your strategy along with some good reasons to jump on it ASAP.
Call your dental insurance provider and find out the exact amount of your unspent dental benefits. That is also the exact amount you stand to lose if you don’t take the next step.
Call your dentist and make an appointment. The sooner you do this (like right after you finish reading this), the more likely your dentist will be able to schedule you or any eligible family member covered by your dental plan before New Year’s Eve. While you’re on the phone find out what procedures will qualify. Typically, anything cosmetic, such as whitening or veneers, aren’t covered. But preventive procedures such as cleanings, x-rays and routine exams probably are. So are fillings, crowns, bridgework and other dental procedures up to the amount allowed by your plan. Even if you can’t complete a procedure this year, you can get the ball rolling, using up left-over benefits. Next year, when your dental plan maximum benefits and deductible reset, you can finish the work.
Saving money isn’t your only motivator, either. Routine visits to the dentist can detect early problems like gum diseases and oral cancers. Even a small cavity or leaky filling left unattended can become a bigger, more expensive fix if you ignore it. Fillings are relatively cheap. Root canal and crowns are big ticket items (and not particularly pleasant to endure, either).
Nothing is getting cheaper. Creeping inflation is driving up the costs of everything. The crown you buy this year could easily cost more next year. Your dentist’s fees might also go up to cover his or her rising costs. A fee increase can also result in a higher co-pay.
One final reason for acting quickly: You are not the only person who suddenly realized you still had unspent dental benefits.