This time of year is magical for so many reasons. The holiday season is here; snowy weather threatens to turn the landscape into a winter wonderland and the New Year with all its potential is around the bend. There is more opportunity to get together with friends, family and loved ones, and most of us just feel a little bit more cheerful. It can be easy to forget about the practical things in life this time of year, but they are still important. For most of us, our medical and dental benefits are coming to an end December 31st, and no one wants to leave their hard earned money or benefits on the table.
Do your dental benefits expire at the end of the year? Most insurance companies have a December 31st deadline for coverage. For several important circumstances, it is wise to consider that deadline. If you have opted to utilize a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for dental expenses, you want to be sure to us any dollars left before the end of the year. Some FSA accounts allow a small grace period (up to 2 ½ months past December 31st) to use your account money. Other FSAs allow only up to $500 per year to roll over into the next year. And not all FSAs offer either of these options. Determining what your FSA rules are is essential to protect your account and to use your money wisely. If you haven’t used your funds, missed the grace period deadline or have additional funds above $500, you will lose the money you haven’t spent. Now is the perfect time to schedule that procedure you need before those funds disappear.
Many also carry dental benefits plans that require monthly premiums. These premiums often cover 100% of preventative dental visits or bi-annual checkups. Insurance companies encourage preventative medicine in the hopes of early detection and lower costs. If you have preventative visit coverage that you have not used, now is the time to get that dental visit scheduled before the end of the year. Take advantage of what you are already paying for before it expires.
Now that you have gotten the maximum benefits from your current dental coverage for this year, open enrollment is right around the corner for next year. This is your chance to look at your current coverage and consider how well it fit with your needs. Partnering with your dentist to discuss your dental history, current oral health, and potential future issues can help determine how your next year might look. Your employer may offer several plan options. Consider them all. Look at premiums, deductibles, co-payments, coinsurance and what is covered. Making the most informed choice for the New Year can keep your dental health in check and your wallet happy. If you have proper coverage, you are more likely to visit your dentist. More and more experts are saying oral health relates to overall health. So consider your options and choose wisely. The New Year is a new chance to be great and healthy.