Many people don’t realize that at the beginning of the new year, on January 1st, their dental insurance will renew. This means that any annual fees will reset and unused benefits will be lost. Many patients avoid dealing with their dental insurance at all cost because they feel that it’s complicated to understand. However, with the right dentist by your side, you’ll be able to maximize your benefits, maintain your oral health, and save yourself from out-of-pocket costs. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of your dental plan before it restarts.
Choose the Right Plan For Your Needs
Before your insurance plan renews, it’s time to determine whether there’s another option out there that’s better for you. There are two main types of dental plans called HMOs and PPOs:
- PPOs usually require you to pay a deductible or fees to your dentist before your benefits kick in, which are usually 50 dollars or under. These plans also have annual maximums, which is a capped amount of money that your insurance will pay for your dental treatments every year, typically 1,250 dollars. These plans also include fully covered preventive services such as two checkups and cleanings during the year.
- HMOs are different in a lot of ways. The premiums are lower and you most likely won’t have to worry about deductibles or annual maximums. Instead, you’ll pay fixed copayments for each of your treatments.
While most dentists participate in PPOs, patients’ choices of dentists are usually smaller if they have an HMO plan. A good way to consider what choice is the best for you is to understand what kind of coverage you need, assess your budget, and consider whether other family members will join you on your plan.
Stay With Providers Who Are In-Network
You can save yourself from hefty out-of-pocket costs if you see in-network providers. To find out whether a dentist accepts your insurance and is in your network, you can either call their practice or visit your insurance provider’s website and use their provider database.
Keep Up With Preventive Dental Care
HMO plans have a model of 100-80-50. This means that they pay for 100 percent of preventive care, 80 percent of basic treatments like fillings, and 50 percent of major services such as root canal therapy. That means that you can save yourself from having to pay for invasive surgeries and procedures if you remain proactive about your oral health and get problems treated while they’re small.
Shop Around For Treatments and Procedures
Prices for dental treatments can vary drastically depending on the region you’re in. Even though your insurance will cover most of your treatment, if you need additional work done, you’ll want to make sure you won’t exceed your annual maximum. If you do, you’ll have to pay the remaining amount out of your own pocket.
Don’t Wait to Treat Oral Health Problems
Oral health problems don’t disappear by themselves, as much as everyone wishes that was the case. The longer you leave an issue untreated, the more costly and invasive treatment you’ll need, and the less of the cost will be covered by your insurance. When you get them taken care of right away, you’ll be able to avoid oral pain and preserve your monthly budget.
Following these five tips to get the most out of your dental insurance before it expires on January 1st will save you massive amounts of stress and money. When you have a dentist you trust by your side, they can help you learn what’s covered by your provider and how you can get the most out of your plan.
About the Author
Dr. Pasquale Giordano is dedicated to giving his patients every tool and resource they need to maintain great oral health throughout their lives. He believes that patients shouldn’t feel overwhelmed or stressed when it comes to dealing with their dental insurance, which is why his team offers to answer any questions or concerns about their coverage. He also happily partners with additional financers like CareCredit to offer patients low or no interest payment plans. For questions or to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning before your benefits expire, visit Oakton Dentistry by Design’s website or call 703-938-4300.