"Use it or lose it": Dental Insurance

Around this time of each year we send a note to our patients with dental insurance. This very important note has a very important message….”Use it or lose it”! We are referring to dental insurance benefits. Most dental insurance plans start over on the first of every calendar year. So if you have need treatment at the dentist and you have remaining insurance benefits, now is a great time to make an appointment to get things done.

Let me explain a little bit about dental insurance. Be glad if you have it!  If your employer gives it to you as part of a benefits package, it is part of your pay. It’s something that most people don’t have. I call it a discount program for the dentist. It may not pay for everything, but it sure helps. Different plans cover dental care in different amounts. Within the same insurance company you can find plans that cover a little or a lot. Some only cover preventative care like cleanings and x-rays. Premium plans may cover 80-90% of dental work up to a certain yearly maximum.

If you are unsure of your coverage you can talk to your employer or Human resources department. If you have a dentist, the staff at the office should also be able to help. In my office, Kim is the insurance expert. She can get you reliable information on what your insurance will cover and what your out of pocket expenses will be so you can plan for your dental care.

Patients often ask me if they should purchase a dental insurance policy. My answer is always the same. You need to crunch the numbers. For an individual, often you are paying as much for the insurance policy than you would ever be able to get back from it. For a family though, it may make sense to have a family policy. Remember that new insurance laws make it mandatory that each child be covered for dental care as an extension of health insurance. Your health insurance provider should be able to help you with this.